Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Naropa Essay Question #4

"What do you hope to have accomplished as a writer, five years from now?"

Ick, Naropa University. I am not feeling so well today. I was not going to answer one of your essay questions because it has rendered me icky and lazy, but I think this will be a short one.

I don't know. What do I hope to accomplish. I hope to accomplish the same exact thing that I've been accomplishing for the past few years. I want to continue to devote my life to writing. I want to have more books completed. I want to keep writing more and more, which means I will also improve more and more.

It would be nice to exclusively write for a living too, but I am realistic. I don't think this will happen within the next five years.

When I was young, I didn't want to make money off my art. I wanted to keep it "pure." I thought that money would contaminate it.

But then I got old. I had to do work that I didn't enjoy to survive. I often think to myself while I'm writing, I wish this paid enough that I didn't have to do work that I don't enjoy to survive.

Still, I would rather not have to do work that I didn't enjoy to survive and not get paid for my writing. My child-like, money contaminates art, ideal would rather have a magical bank account that never runs out of money or a magical uncle who dies and leaves me his magical chest of magical money that never runs out.

But if I cannot have magic finances, I will settle for being ability to live off my writing. Maybe this will happen in twenty years if I am lucky. If I am luckier, this will happen earlier.

Until that happens, I would like to get paid to teach writing. That would be nice.

So I'm thinking about the whole magical financial status and how I would prefer to not get paid for my writing in this case and how sales usually translates into readers.

Readers are a confusing subject.

Do I write for myself or for other people?

Both, I think.

But I do not know why I feel this urge to have people read my work. It is a mystery. Perhaps I want the approval of my peers. To feel that my existence has been authenticated. Maybe the way that I determine whether or not someone is finished is if it satisfies a reader. I think I am not doing very well in expressing why I feel an urge for people to read my work. Maybe because I am feeling unwell and lazy. Maybe it is something that is impossible to express.

I am always making the typo of writing "a" instead of "I." I do not understand it. This is also a mystery.

I actually just wrote: "a" instead of "a."

I fixed it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Naropa Essay Question #3

"What usually inspires or motivates you to write?"

I already answered this question in an essay, so I am going to cut-and-paste it. I am lazy.

It is not very long. I guess I can bullshit to make it longer, but I do not want to do that even though my initials are B.S. I feel that there's too much bullshit in college admission essays. I think it's 90% bullshit. I will destroy this bullshit.

Since this response is so puny, I want every person who reads this entry to answer the question in my comments.

My answer:

"Overwhelming urges. There’s a name for that: Hypergraphia. Although the authors who are associated with the term are very prolific while I’m kind of slow. I get a little depressed when I haven’t written prose for a few days. Finishing a long project is one of the best feelings that I’ve experienced, but it never lasts long. I usually feel antsy the next day and start working on something new."

The Creep

I am supposed to be writing a proposal letter for a four issue comic book tonight. This is my goal for tonight. It is called the words that appear in the subject line. I do not feel motivated to do it unfortunately. I will write the proposal as a blog because I feel less-self conscious this way. I can rewrite it later.

Proposal for The Creep

"Victim seeks revenge on the people who have wronged her."

You've heard this story again and again. You are tired of it. It is dull. It is as fresh as the forgotten leftovers that have been rotting in your refrigerator since last summer.

(Gah! How to make the transition to my comic?)

In the comic book world, these stories don't seem to go on for eternity. If a bad guy kills someone's family and leaves them for dead, it stands to reason that the person will not be satisfied after they get their revenge. They will feel an emptiness inside. They will believe this emptiness can only be filled by declaring war on all crime.

(Gah! Where the fuck is my transition?)

What if there was an expiration date on the comic book revenge story? What if once the victim has beat the crap out of those who did her wrong, she no longer felt the need to seek out other enemies to beat the crap out of. What if she felt bad about beating the crap out of those who did her wrong?

(Hurray for transition! Even though it might suck)

This is where our story begins.

(Well, it starts with a flashback with the protagonist being all evil and shit and begins with her feeling bad about what she did on page ten of the first issue, so I don't really know how to phrase this without sounding like a dumbass, especially since publishes seem to ask for a ten-ish page sample to accompany the artwork. Maybe I'll mention something about the flashback later.)

Jane feels bad about ruining the lives of the people who did her wrong. She thinks of herself as "a creep" because of it. She has realized that the people who did her wrong were not trying to do her wrong.

(Damn my recent proclivity towards being repetitive. Will probably need to fix it later)

The people who did her wrong made a mistake. They were only a group of college kids. They didn't know what they were getting themselves into. All they did was pry open the wrong conspicuous-looking door on the wrong side of a mountain that one afternoon.

They didn't know the mountain contained an enormous, empty room. They didn't know that Jane had never left the room since birth. They didn't know that she was a subject of an experiment. They didn't know this experiment gave her the ability to possess the body of anyone she wants. They didn't know that by rescuing Jane from her prison, they were also destroying the world that she lived in, the world inside her head.

(Repetition just makes everything so simple. It is nice. Blah...what next?)

It is very easy to ruin the lives of the people who have done you wrong if you have the ability to possess the body of anyone who you want. This would not make an interesting story. We would not want to read it.

It would make an interesting story if five years pass and Jane decides to repair all of the damage that she has done. Jane will find that it is a lot more difficult to help her enemies than defeat them.

Unfortunately, Jane's mission is made even more difficult by Warren Alexander, who was one of the college student's who did her wrong. He wants to repair the damage that Jane has done to him his own way. Jane would not like Warren's way. The other college students who did Jane wrong would not like Warren's way. Warren's way would not be approved by the Medical Association of America unless Dr. Josef Mengele was an influential member of the group. Warren's way and Jane's ways are not compatible. Warren will try to thwart Jane's way at every opportunity.

This is a story about redemption and adjusting to a strange world that is not your own. It is about finding peace in your inner being as well as your environment.

(I don't like this conclusion. It will need to be changed. Maybe deleted. The proposal needs a more satisfactory ending).

Notes on the series:

Co-written by Bradley Sands and Martin j DeKay

Art by Lucas Aguirre

90 pages

The art and script are complete. The lettering and covers are not.

It can either work as a graphic novel or a four issue mini-series (with 22 pages for each issue, except 24 for the last).

The art is in black and white/grey tones.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Naropa Essay Question #2

"What outside studies, activities or disciplines have influenced your practice of writing or seem particularly relevant to it?"

The obvious answer is reading.

I believe the best way to develop the skills to write well is to read good books.

Authors who are not compulsive readers are usually poor writers. Authors who are not well read are either lazy or don't have enough free time or really self-absorbed.

The best way to learn what does and does not work is to determine what does and does not work while reading many many many books. Being told these things my instructors and writing books is a poor substitute for this.

I usually watch films to learn about plot. The plot is usually tighter and more focused than in books. I look towards books to learn about the construction of sentences. I feel that many novels have an inferior, slow moving plot. This is because of the trend in the marketplace that seems to favor books that are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of pages long, even though hundreds and hundreds of those pages are filler.

What other activities are relevant to my practice of writing? I don't know. I'm not a very big activity kind of guy. I wish I could say something like how I practice Judo and that has given me the discipline necessary to sit in front of a screen an empty a story out of my head, but that would be bullshit.

Is thinking about my death an activity? I guess it is. I think about my death and it has a great deal of influence over my writing. It inspires me to tap the keys on my keyboard. Because I want to tap the keys many, many times before I die. I would the number of key strokes to be equivalent to the number of times my heart goes boom boom boom throughout the entirety of my life. Or maybe not. If the number key strokes is equivalent to the number of times my heart goes boom boom boom throughout the entirety of my life, then I would be writing tons of crap. Probably some good stuff too. But I would like to limit the quantity of crap if I can help it.

What else, Naropa, what else?

Sometimes the title of spam emails give me ideas for stories. "I will let u watch me taking a shower."

I just thought of a story idea about showering.

Working a job inspires me to write. I think, "Hmmm, maybe if I keep putting effort into writing, I won't have to work overnights at a gas station in twenty years. Maybe I will make what I'm making for working overnights at a gas station by sitting in front of a computer and typing. That would be very nice.

This is another activity that is relevant to my practice of writing: sitting around and thinking about things that would be very nice.

And, oh, talking to friends. That is good for plot ideas. I like talking to a friend and coming up with something funny to use in a story. It is like an artistic collaboration between two minds where no one puts any effort into it.

How about living and breathing and shitting and eating and walking around?

This morning, I got out of work. I felt hungry. I went to a diner. It was the one with the subtitle "The Home of Polish Music." I ordered hot chocolate because I thought it would come with my meal. I looked at my menu. I thought about how awesome it would be if I could combine what I liked about every diner that I have ever been to into one diner and how it would be the greatest diner ever. I ordered French Toast because I have been eating too many eggs and am worried about my cholesterol I have a newfound appreciation for French toast ever since eating it for the first time in a while at Friendly's last week and reading somewhere on the internet how this place had "the best French toast."

Then I stopped typing about my morning to reflect back upon these events about how French toast is properly made with eggs, so my cholesterol is probably fucked anyway, but that French Toast is probably made with less eggs than eggs, so my cholesterol is probably not as fucked.

Then I started typing about my morning again to comment on how I learned that hot chocolate did not come free with my meal and I was a little disappointed. I read a bunch of poems by Richard Brautigan. The night before, I had developed a newfound appreciation for his poetry (I did not like them the day before). I thought about how unusual it is that I usually eat breakfast food for dinner but it is not really unusual because I really like breakfast food and I always slept my morning away in the past and could never order breakfast from a restaurant.

Then I stopped typing my morning to mention that the view outside my window and how it makes my new room a nice place to write. It is very sunny and grassy and green and my room also overlooks a maintenance building and a road. I wonder if it would be an even nicer place to write if my room did not overlook a ugly maintenance building its ugly fence? It is very likely that it makes no difference. I wonder if it would be an even nicer place to write if a bus didn't pass by my window every five minutes. Yes, probably so.

I believe that looking out the window in my new room is an activity that is relevant to practice of writing. This has not been tested very much, but I believe it to me so. I believe that when I get stuck on a sentence or an idea, I will now look out of my window instead of looking at random bullshit on the internet. I believe that looking at random bullshit on the internet takes a lot longer than looking through my window and I only have a limited amount of minutes before I die.

Back at the Home of Polish Music, I ate my French toast. I was disappointed by it. It was decent, but it was not "the best French toast." It was decent, but it was not as good as the French toast at Friendly's. I do not believe that Friendly's is known for having very good food.

I paid for my food. I gave a tip. I wondered if I shouldn't have given a tip since I believe that my food was served by the restaurant's owner.

I drove back to my new apartment. It was the first day in a while that I didn't drive to my house first to pick up stuff to bring to my new apartment.

I checked my email. I died a little more by looking at random bullshit on the internet. I wrote a post on a forum on ways to combat spam. I masturbated. I left my apartment.

I walked to town while listening to Saul William's Niggy Tardust album on my MP3 player. I thought about how I would have taken the bus to town if I was very lazy.

I went to Amherst Books. I looked for Tao Lin's new book of poetry. They did not have it.

I went to the Jones Library. I returned some books. I picked the following books out of the shelves: Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Samuel Beckett's Watt, Ann Beattie's Distortions, Gregory McDonald's Fletch (annoying large text edition because that's all they had), and Richard Brautigan's Willard and His Bowling Trophies.

I sat down. I read the first two chapters of The Sun Also Rises. I enjoyed them, unlike a year or so ago when I tried and failed to enjoy the book while I was sitting in the same library (and this is not the library that I normally visit, so it was a little coincidental). I decided to check the book out. I thought, I think this is a good time to try to get into Hemingway since I only seem to like books with simplistic sentences at the moment.

I read the first story in Ann Beattie's Distortions. It was about someone who had a midget for a brother. It was great!

I read a few pages of Samuel Beckett's Watt. I did not like it. I decided to leave it behind at the table. I picked up the other books and checked them out. The librarian told me that I had six dollars worth of fines and asked me if I wanted to pay it off now. I told her, no, and that the librarians at the Forbes Library said that I did not have to pay it off until it reached ten dollars (and telepathically communicated to her that those librarians mention it about once every four months and how she was annoying me and should not mention it for another four months) and then she told me how I won't be able to order stuff online when it reaches ten dollars.

I went back to the stacks and found Amy Hempel's Reasons to Live. I read a few pages. I did not like it. I searched for Jim Thompson's Savage Night. They did not have it. I read the first few sentences of The Killer Inside Me. It made me want to read more, but I decided against checking it out because I already had many books.

I looked at the books that they library was selling. None of them looked interesting. I left. I thought about all of the books that I checked out were written in a spare writing style, except the Brautigan book. I wasn't sure if it was written in a spare writing style. I thought it was probably written in a spare writing style.

I stopped writing about my morning to reflect on how I originally wrote "except the Brautigan" instead of "except the Brautigan book." It is as if Willard and His Bowling Trophies was a painting that was done by Brautigan. I wonder if it is commonplace for people to refer to books by their authors' last name as if it were a painting? I cannot recall.

I walked to the post office. I took a large envelope out that contained an issue of my literary journal, Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens. I looked at the return address to find out the number of my P.O. box. I opened my P.O. box to make sure that the envelope would fit in it. The envelope fit in my P.O. box.

I bought postage from the mail clerk so I could mail the issue of Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens to a new subscriber. It was about fifty cents more than when I mailed the same issue last week and bought postage from an automatic postage machine. I decided to use an automatic postage machine next time, which would require going to another post office since this post office didn't have one.

I walked home. I listed to Prick's self-titled album. I thought about how it was one of the greatest albums ever made because it made me feel happy to be alive and how Prick's one other album and side project-ish like thing (although Prick might be the side project-ish like thing of this side project-ish thing) would probably have had the same affect on me if they were my favorite albums during a couple of years of high school like Prick's self titled album was. I thought of how Prick's self titled album was a perfect album. I thought about how Mentallo and the Fixer's Where Angels Fear to Tread was a perfect album because I could enjoy it regardless of what mood I am experiencing. I thought about how the following movies are perfect movies: Once Upon a Time in America, Brick, Inland Empire, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

I felt hungry. I thought about how French Toast must not be very filling. I felt weak, as if I had hypoglycemia. I walked into a Dunkin' Donuts. I bought a personal pizza and a Gatorade. The Gatorade was more expensive than it said on the shelf. I did not object. After, I walked over to the shelf. The price on the shelf was listed under the words, "Minute Maid." I thought, oh. I thought about an incident earlier at work where the price tag on a bottle of flavored sparkling water was more than the price that was listed on the shelf. I thought about how I gave the customer the lower price because I just don't give a fuck. I ate my pizza. I drank my Gatorade. It was extremely satisfying for a bottle of Gatorade. I left. I walked home. I typed my response to this essay question. I thought of ten story ideas from this morning's activities. I thought of how this morning's activities would be particularly relevant to my writing process.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I was accepted into the Juniper Summer Writing Institute.

Is this a big deal? I have no idea.

It's only for a week. It costs a little more than five times what I thought it did when I applied and I found out about it too late to apply for a scholarship.

Oh well. I will do it anyway.

I am one-up on the other people who will be attending since I live nearby and they will have to pay for housing unless I am not one-up on them.

They probably don't work at gas stations though.

I think I might be excited.

I wonder if I shouldn't use the story that got me into the Juniper program in my writing sample for the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (since that is where the Juniper program takes place). I wrote that story specifically for my UMASS writing sample. I wonder if I should workshop that story. Maybe it would help me improve it and ultimately get into an MFA program?

It would be a little weird to workshop the story that got me into the Juniper program while in a Juniper workshop. I could workshop my usual stuff, but it is my "usual stuff," not my "literary stuff." I think I only write "literary stuff" for MFA writing samples.

I rented a P.O. box. That angry, crazy man will not murder me now, unless he is waiting when I go back to my old house to pick up stuff to bring to my storage space in Connecticut. I am paying three dollars and thirty three cents to receive two pieces of mail a month and go a month without being killed by insane submitters. Pretty much all of my Bust correspondence happens online.

I have moved all my non-going into storage stuff into my new place. I still need to put a bunch away.

A bus passes my window every five minutes. This would be very nice if I was lazier (I would rather walk to town) and ever had somewhere to be during the day. I am sure the bus will come far less frequently during the week of the Juniper program in the summer.

My co-worker, Jessie (of An Interview with Jesse fame), is too lazy to do his job properly, so the new manager banned laptop use.

This is the way of the world. One person ruins it for the rest of humanity.

I will need to become more comfortable with writing fiction in a notebook. I am so dependent on my word processor.

I will probably end up reading more books now.

I might blog less, since I mostly blogged at work.

Or I will decide to be more ok with writing blog entries when I'm tired.

I will apply to the gas station that's near my new place. They are hiring for the third shift.

Gas costs so much. I drive a gas guzzler. My gas station is too cheap to pay me a little extra for working third shifts. Every other gas station in the known universe seems to do this.

Being able to use my laptop at work was probably the only reason why I would prefer to work at my gas station over another random gas station. So I will see what happens.

I just finished In Watermelon Sugar. It was great! It was sort of what I wanted Motorman to be like. I do not really remember Motorman though, so I don't know what I'm talking about. Oh, I do remember one thing. I remember that I did not like it.

I also read Trout Fishing in America because it was in the same book. I did not like it. I liked some chapters in it. Some chapters were some of the greatest chapters ever written. But overall, I did not enjoy it. I do not like to read books about fishing. I do not like to read books about nature.

To me, reading books about nature feels the same as watching a sports event.

Watching a sports event is incredibly boring. Unless it is "pro" wrestling or a monster truck rally and the five minute mark hasn't passed yet.

Sometimes, playing sports can be fun.

I like doing nature-y things like hiking. I would not want to read about someone going on a hike. Unless that someone was a "pro" wrestler who is driving a monster truck up a scenic trail with the intent of driving his truck off the top of the mountain after he gets to the summit.

But I would only like the first five and last five pages.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Around 2001 or 2002 or so, James (of "An Interview With James" fame) and I tried to convince Marvel Comics to let us write a comic book for them. It was for a superhero called Nomad. The only editor to write back to us shared his name with the actor who played the Karate Kid. He told us something like, "No, but good luck."

Nomad was probably the Marvel character with the most potential for awesomeness, while he was always used by really horrible writers.

I also have the script for the first issue. I'm pretty sure I wrote it myself. It is not very good. It was one of my earliest attempts at scriptwriting.

James and I wrote like a zillion emails brainstorming this Nomad thing. Our correspondence was awesome. It probably would have been more interesting than the comic had it been produced.

I just read our proposal. I think it is pretty great. Because we both worked on it and James is really good at writing essay-like things.

Here is out proposal in its full glory:

Proposal for a Nomad Limited Series

When the real battle for the survival of humanity comes, it is not fought by godlike beings dressed in brightly-colored, ungainly costumes, wielding inconceivable powers while their capes drift through the air behind them. The war does not have twenty-four hour coverage on CNN, with members of the Avengers on hand to offer reassuring sound bites.

In fact, very few people are ever aware of the danger, and some of them never even figure out for sure who won. It turns out to be not the big things that were important-- not the armadas of alien ships, the giant nuclear-powered robots, the powers of the ancient gods, the Ultimate Nullifier-- but a series of very subtle choices, and barely-noticeable variations in routine.

Jack Monroe, aka Nomad, has never been known for subtlety. He would probably not be well-equipped for this situation even if he were relatively sane and, right now, he is not. Ever since his teens he's been going into and out of cryogenic storage, and he's stuck in a permanent case of culture shock right now, to say nothing of his massive brain-freeze headache. He's STILL suffering the side effects of the destabilized Vita-Ray used on him in the 1950s, as well as withdrawal symptoms from the elaborate antipsychotics pumped into him by the CSA in the 1970s. Then there's the many rounds of cerebral chemical depressants and stimulants, and the barely-dormant nanoprobes circulating through his bloodstream. There's the latent psychological afterglow of his many brainwashing sessions, all clouding into one confused mess of guilt and fear. And there's the fact that he has NO idea what year it is anymore, or where Bucky's gotten off to... To put it bluntly, this man is a few superheroes short of the Avengers.

Jack's actions lately have made his paranoia in the 50s and his schizophrenia in the 90s seem mild and desirable by comparison. His fragmented identity cannot be described as anything less than psychotic. To make matters worse, Jack's brain is playing tricks on him. He has lost his grounding in the present and finds himself reliving and confronting the various roles he has assumed throughout his life. He's got at least four active identities all making noise in his head, and he's not sure who to listen to. Is he quiet, mild-mannered Jack Monroe-- the bookish young student with a chip on his shoulder and a secret in his basement? Or maybe he's Bucky III, proudly fighting Communism alongside his best friend Steve Rogers II? Or, is he Nomad II, crashing on a different Steve Rogers' couch, wearing bright blue spandex and hurling titanium discs at the evildoers of New York? Or, is he a trenchcoated antihero, exploring the country means of exploring himself? All of these voices are struggling for control of the body that is Jack Monroe, and it's really starting to get him in trouble.

Jack has never known his own limits, after all. And even as his mental state slips past delusion into pure hallucination, he remains wrapped up in the investigation of a mysterious drug cartel, marketing a newly-synthesized and highly addictive drug called Cliometrizone. Whoever is behind the manufacture of the drug has hidden his tracks very well, and Jack keeps running into dead ends-- none of the dealers he busts seem to have any idea who it was that sold them their supply. Finally, admitting defeat, Jack turns to his old friend Giscard Epurer (the Favor Banker) for help.

Epurer's help is cryptic at best, utterly confounding at worst. And there's something a bit odd about Giscard Epurer, anyways. You see, in 2010 he will come up with a plan that threatens the very existence of humanity's random element; its unpredictable evolution and its unforeseen catastrophes. Having discovered that the entirety of human society functions as a single higher-level brain, with each human being performing the function that a single synapse performs in a human brain, Epurer has decided to reprogram the global consciousness to his own specifications-- to, very carefully, bring every living human into line, and to make a focused unity out of the chaos of sentient life. While such a goal may have been impossible in the past, in 2010 Epurer has come into the possession of a time machine, and from that point on everything changes. Epurer has always been a master of working smart, not hard-- of economizing his effort so that not one twitch is wasted-- and he immediately seizes onto the potential of time-travel. No longer are his plans limited by the blind tyranny of linear time. He can now travel to an almost infinite amount of specific points within time, setting up the most minute details of his plan with tremendous care-- in a sense, adding subtle programming commands to the development of human society at all of the necessary stress points. His new capabilities allow him to be anywhere, at any time. And, while the effort might hopelessly boggle a lesser mind, he can be at any place, at any time, MORE THAN ONCE, working in concert with his other temporal manifestations. In a nutshell, he is no longer the lone gunman: he can fire from the book depository and the grassy knoll at EXACTLY the same time. This is the best news of all. He no longer needs to depend on unreliable henchmen and mercenaries for his work-- he can recruit his own past selves into the struggle, and even tap into other versions of himself, from alternate timelines.

When Epurer's plan succeeds, the beautiful diversity of human individuality will be gone. Everything will have its place and there will be no room for God to play dice. This world will still seem meaningless to an observer of average intelligence but will actually be a manifestation of Epurer's will-- nothing more than the most complex clockworks ever constructed. It is fortunate that Epurer has never needed applause from the wings (his work brings its own satisfaction), as no one will ever know what has happened.

In fact, to have any idea that ANYTHING was going on, one would probably have to be highly tuned to the random fluctuations of probability and complexity in the universe. One would probably have to spend one's entire life swimming in a sea of uncertainty, getting to know just how liberating chaos could be, and exploring all of its idiotic, entropic potential with the passion of an ardent lover. One would probably have to be the dapper antihero Madcap, actually. And Madcap feels the world changing, the way the rest of us can feel the seasons shift. Something is slowly ebbing from human life and, while the disjointed mind of Madcap may be unable to cognitively understand it, he is nonetheless able to fear it, and to resent it. For the first time since his rebirth into madness, he knows that his usual techniques of flashy grandstanding and non-sequitur dialogue will be insufficient-- that he's going to need to proceed with some sort of plan if the greatest catastrophe never noticed is to be averted. And he's no good with "plans." He'll need some sort of ally-- someone who knows how to use time productively, and carry on a logical train of thought. He hits a goldmine when he runs into his old friend-- or, the closest he's ever had to a friend-- Jack Monroe.

This is a story about madness: about the unclear contradictions between sense and nonsense, about the ultimately symbiotic relationship between patterned information and chaos, about the thin line between altruism and solipsism, and about what it means to have a defective mind in an ultimately defective world. As Madcap might say, "if modern life doesn't drive you insane, you MUST be crazy." More importantly, though, it's about freedom. For the present-day Giscard Epurer, it's about freedom from predestination, and from the irreversible tug of a predetermined future. For Madcap, it's about the freedom to be ridiculous, to continue to live moment-to-moment, without ever feeling the need to make sense. And for Jack Monroe, it's about the freedom to be human, and to make human mistakes, in a world that seems to demand otherwise. Ultimately, it is the disparity-- not the similarity-- between these three motives that allows the trio to avert the most insidious act of misdirection ever committed.

After all, how do you prevent a crime that has already been committed? How do you fight a villain who's already seen how things turn out, and who already knows that he's won? You'd have to be crazy to try. Have you ever managed to unpop a balloon?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Colonial Times

I am typing this in my new apartment. Had everything gone according to plan today, I would have been typing this in my old house. I had planned to drive back to my old house by now to do more packing and get some writing done. I am only half moved out. I am missing my bookcase, my desk, my chair, my air conditioner, and tons of random shit.

I slept in my new apartment last night, but I did not get a good sleep. I am not sure if I got any sleep. So I am in my new apartment, in case I need to take a nap, since my mattress is here. This is the second time I slept here. I slept better the first time, but not that much better. I have trouble sleeping in places that aren't my room, or places that aren't my old room. I still haven't decided which side of the mattress I prefer to sleep on.

I hate being tired, so I am drinking a can of coke. I hope I do not wake up to regret this. I will probably drive back to my old place soon since I am getting caffeinated.

I just got back from walking to a convenience store. It is very close by. This is nice. A nearby 24 hour corner store is essential to having a decent apartment. They have decent pre-made sandwiches and their own brand of ice cream that is on par with Ben and Jerry's. It belongs to a chain of gas station/convenience stores. It is referred to by Cumby's by locals. There is one across from my work. There is one a couple of blocks from my old place. I have been eating their sandwiches a lot, ever since I switched over to a "staying up all night" schedule.

My new apartment is nice. It is very run-down. It is relatively clean. It's cleanliness contrasts with its run-down-ness. Except the kitchen is pretty disgusting. I am ok with this. My last kitchen was pretty disgusting. And I don't know how to cook. I just know how to heat things up.

My room is clean. It has a hard wood floor. My old room had some sort of unfinished looking floor. I am pretty sure it was a magnet that was disguised to resemble a floor, a magnet that attracted dust and dirt and wasn't happy about letting its adopted children get taken away by things like vacuum cleaners and brooms.

My apartment is located in a building that is located in a complex. There are four apartments per building (or maybe eight apartments, but for of them are not connected to mine via a hallway/stairs. I don't know. I haven't paid attention to things like this yet). I saw one of my customers at my gas station working on his car outside my building this morning. He is a very friendly guy. I talked to him a while ago about being stressed about having to find a new place to live. He mentioned his own apartment. It is a coincidence that he lives in my building. I cannot remember his name now. I am terrible with names.

I finished editing my book, Disappointing Sophomoric Effort, last night. I thought I was finished editing the contents a while ago, but then I sat on it for a while, so I felt that it needed another ending since so much time has passed and I'm about to submit it for publication. I stole the title from a novel that I wrote in a month which was truly my second novel. I feel that I can only use the title for the next book that gets published. If the new Disappointing Sophomoric Effort gets published after another book, I will need to change the title. If it gets published after another book, that other book will be called Disappointing Sophomoric Effort. Well, unless the publisher really hates the name. If the publisher of my next book really hates the name, then the name will be lost in the wind and I would also encourage authors to use the title for their second book. But until the publisher hates the name, please do not do this.

I also have a short story collection that I have been sitting on for a long time: "My Heart Said No, But the Camera Crew Said Yes!" I don't know where to send it. Short story collections are a hard sell. Short story collections with writing that is not that accessible because it requires an active reader rather than a passive reader are a hard sell. Short story collections that cannot be categorized as literary fiction are a hard sell. Short story collections that cannot be categorized as genre fiction are a hard sell. Short story collections that are the size of a novella (maybe 30,000 words) are a hard sell.

I do not want to add any more stories to it.

I know of a bunch of publishers that might be into it if they weren't only considering novels. They are only considering novels because short story collections do not sell well.

I was just sitting at my new kitchen table.

Now I am sitting on my bed. It is because my laptop battery was about to run out and I was too lazy to carry my AD adapter out of my room. I dislike my laptop battery. It lasts for like half an hour.

I finished the first draft of my Nick Cave story two days ago. This was my goal for the four nights in a row that I have/had off. I have accomplished my goal. I do not know if I like the story. It might be good. The plot is slight and it is total violent mayhem. I do not think I am a fan of total violent mayhem.

I am going to write part two of the post that I did last week and drive to my old house. I do not think I will post part 2.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pimps Don't Commit Suicide

I am sorry to tell you this, but I am suffering from TMJ-induced head pain, so I will be unable to bring you part 2 of my highly-anticipated blog entry, The Evolution of My Influences. Maybe I will write it tomorrow.

Instead I will complain about how this is the first time I've had TMJ-induced head pain since I came back from Utah and I have been very happy about this until now. I thought that maybe I wouldn't have to deal with it anymore. Lately, I have even been lowering the dosage of pills that I take at night because I find that they stop working after I take them for a while.

I guess I went to sleep a little angry this morning. That was probably a bad idea.

I live in a different day then everybody else. Since I sleep in the afternoons, my mornings are yesterday and my evenings are tomorrow.

I am done complaining.

I watched Southland Tales this morning. It was better than I thought it was going to be. It was disappointing because I liked the director's other movie, Donnie Darko, a lot. Everybody said Southland Tales made no sense. It made sense to me. It was a little confusing. But not so confusing that I had trouble following it. I don't understand why everybody thinks it's so incomprehensible.

But the script is a mess, I agree. And the majority of the first twenty minutes is a Justin Timberlake voice-over that explains the film's background.

This means the script is not well written.

I started reading the graphic novels that proceed the movie. There are three books. I have read the first two. I think that the movie is considered books parts four to six in the story. So the graphic novels are not really prequels. They are the beginning of the story. They were probably written and released before the movie. The movie is like the first Star Wars, I guess.

So far, the graphic novels have not revealed much information about the overall plot of the movie, except for things that the movie has already told me. Instead, the graphic novels get into things like interpersonal relationships between characters.

This was a little awkward in the movie. Why is The Rock hanging out with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tony Soprano? I thought. The graphic novels told me why The Rock was hanging out with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tony Soprano.

The movie started in the middle, which is fine, but it did not explain why the characters were located in the same rooms. This felt jarring. It felt like lazy writing. It felt as if I had missed the first half of the movie which, considering the graphic novels, I guess I did.

I don't think people should have to read graphic novels in order to be satisfied by a movie.

I have the next four nights off in a row. This is nice. I did not ask for it. It just turned out that way when I switched a few nights with a co-worker.

I will spend the next four days working on my Nick Cave story, which I have only put one day of work into. I will also move to my new apartment. I am supposed to do this on the weekend, although I don't know what day.

The electricity in my house may get shut off before I leave. One of my old housemate who moved out at the beginning of the month says that she is canceling it. My insane, asshole-y said that he would call and take over the account. I do not think he did this.

Getting the electricity shut off would be an inconvenience. It would not be bad during the day, because I could hang out elsewhere in the morning and sleep in the afternoon (and it is getting warmer, so I probably don't need heat).

But the nights will be a problem. It would be less of an inconvenience if I was working during them. Now I will do things like go to all-night dinners or beg my friends to let me sit on their couch all night or sit in my car and use the overhead light to read or see if any of the local university libraries are open overnight or hang out in the campus center at UMASS if it is open or invest in a candle.

Yeah, I guess it wouldn't be so bad.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Is there a sports team called The Rhinoceroses?

A few hours ago, an obese man came into my work wearing a Rhinoceroses jersey. I thought this was a little funny. It is like when someone gets made fun of for something in high school and they appropriate the insults that they receive on a daily basis. I like this.

The jersey might have just said Rhinoceros or Rhinos. I don't know. I don't remember. My memory is terrible.

He was leaning over a little and I tried to read the text on the back. I was able to make out the first word or two. I forget what they were.

I was playing a CD compilation of industrial bands covering songs from the eighties.

Industrial covers usually send much better than industrial originals because whoever wrote the song that the cover is based on was probably a much better writer than the members of the industrial band. And industrializing any songs makes it sound badass.

Xorcist's cover of Party Like It's 1999 was playing.

The man in the rhinoceros jersey asked me if it was a Korn remix.

I said, No, it is a Prince cover.

He said, I know that.

I said, it is Xorcist. Exorcist with an X at the beginning.

He said, Oh, it sounds like Jonathan Davis.

I thought to myself, No, it does not sound like Jonathan Davis. It sounds like a vacuum cleaner who has been taught to sing.

The man in the rhinoceros jersey left.

I forgot what he bought. The only thing that I remember is a chocolate bar. He seemed to feel guilty about buying it. The other stuff that he bought is not relevant. The chocolate bar is not relevant.

None of this is relevant.

Nothing is relevant.

The Evolution of My Influences (part 1)

I want to go to grad school for writing.

I applied to twelve schools around the end of 2006. Twelve schools rejected me around the beginning of 2007.

I planned to try again that year, but I got too caught up in different things and wasn't prepared. There was still enough time, but it would have been a very stressful one or two months. I made the decision to wait another year right after an oral surgeon told me to eliminate all of the stresses from my life.

One of the schools that I want to go to is Naropa. It does not seem to offer teaching positions & funding. I think it's my #1 choice that does not provide these things. It may be also be my #1 of schools that are not located in places that I have lived before.

I'm not sure if I would choose it over a decent school that payed my way that I wasn't too thrilled about. If money was not an option, then the answer would be obvious.

I found out that Naropa asks for a second essay. I am going to write blog entries for each of the essay questions. Perhaps I will later translate them into academic-speak. Maybe not. Naropa is a different sort of school. Maybe they would be ok with essays that are written in the style of a blog.

Question 1: "What particular authors or works have been especially significant to you as a writer?"

Mark Leyner.

Mark Leyner is my earliest influence. I discovered him during college.

Mark Leyner's writing is condensed. Mark Leyner uses a technique where there is a new idea or a joke or something ridiculous in every sentence. Mark Leyner seems to write hundreds of new ideas and jokes and ridiculous things on every page.

Mark Leyner uses this technique because he wants a reader to be able to pick a sentence at random in any of his books and be amused be it. He is successful at this, unless the reader in question is a humorless fuck.

I like Mark Leyner because not one word is wasted, even though every word is irrelevant. I never feel like I can be doing something better with my time. Sometimes when I read a book, I feel that it is too padded. It could be padded with details that are used to build the plot and characters but are dull. It can also be padded because the author tried to make what should of been a short story or a novella into a novel because NYC publishers don't buy single short stories or novellas.

I am going to quote myself in my mock essay, "How to Write a Short Story!":

"Describe every incidental detail. Use no-frills language to describe each character's appearance. Give your reader the thousands of words needed for them to conjure up the images of the characters in their head. If this fails to occur, they will be unable to follow the plot, which should proceed at an excessively slow pace. Use realistic dialogue, the sort of stuff that you would overhear in a plumbing supplies store.

Remember--artificiality is bad!

Your story should feel like an extraordinarily long bus ride from a place that you loathe to a destination that makes you want to use your return ticket before your feet touch the ground."

I am not writing about Mark Leyner here.

Mark Leyner has a problem. When he is trying to make every single sentence in his books amusing, there is no room for plot development. He has a book or two like The Tetherballs of Bougainville that are linear, but they do not have a plot arc.

Mark Leyner can get away with not using a plot. He is that good. Lesser writers who try to make every sentence amusing cannot get away with not using a plot. There work will be unreadable. If they use a plot, it will help them maintain their readers' interest. The plot will drive the readers to keep turning the page.

But plot development will be difficult if the writer is trying to make every sentence amusing. Unless they are extraordinarily talented, they will fail at creating anything except a general plot. This plot will be secondary to the word play, the jokes, the zany things that happen on each page.

After college, I discovered Steve Aylett. His writing is similar to Mark Leyner's. Every sentence is amusing. He is funnier than Mark Leyner. Unlike Mark Leyner who works in some mutant strain of literary fiction, Steve Aylett's work lies in the realm of genre: crime, science fiction, fantasy.

Mark Leyner's work is usually set in our reality. Ridiculous things happen that you will probably never experience in your everyday life, but there is still the minuscule chance that they will occur.

Steve Aylett works in a fantasy setting. ANYTHING can happen. The laws of his realities are dependent on the settings of each individual book.

Steve Aylett also works with plot. He is extraordinarily talented. He is the only writer who I can think of that excels at plot while making every single sentence amusing. His plots are still secondary to everything else, but they are not as overshadowed as the plot, in well, my novel, It Came from Below the Belt.

He made me think it was possible to write a novel with a plot and 100% amusing sentences.

I tried. I succeeded, I think. It was not as good as Steve Aylett's work. The plot ended up being a device that I used to interest myself in going on with the story, as well as maintain the interest of the readers. I used a futuristic setting to explain all the irreal stuff that was happening.

It was really hard work to make every sentence perfect. It was often torturous. It would sometimes take me an hour to write a sentence. I would edit as I wrote. I would rewrite sentences over and over again as I worked. I would make myself laugh a lot. I would yell in frustration a lot. Writing this way was rarely fun. It usually felt like work. It felt really nice during the rare moments that I enjoyed. I loved the end result of my laborious efforts. I enjoyed reading it. I always felt very satisfied, as if I had just completed a marathon.

This was my writing process for a while. I wrote many many many short stories after this and a novella.

The target audience for my writing was an army of my clones.

I wrote the sort of stuff that I wanted to read, hoping there were others like me. Or a clone army, with lots of lots of money. They could buy my books instead of weapons to kill other clone armies.

I do not use this writing process anymore. This is a recent change. I will write about this tomorrow and my more recent influences, along with a few additional minor ones.

Friday, April 11, 2008

blogging myself to sleep

i have been having trouble sleeping this week. due to the stress of finding a new place to live. i found a new place to live. there is no more stress about that. but a little stress about something else that is related to that. i drank a can of coke a while ago. it may make it hard to go to sleep. i might wake up in pain because of the caffeine. i drank a can of coke because i did not get much sleep last night. and i needed to be awake and friendly towards my new potential apartment-mates. they are now my future apartment-mates. i just took a melatonin. i might be addicted to the stuff. i am waiting for it to kick in. it is working. a little.

everybody who reads this blog probably knows about the new issue of Lamination Colony. but its editor, Blake Butler, promised a gift to anyone who blogs about it. or that may be a false memory that Blake Butler has implanted in my head. damn him.

every issue of Lamination Colony has at least one thing that leaves me flabbergasted. i cannot tell you what this is because it appears that the current issue has disappeared. the last issue is in its place. perhaps the last issue has eaten the current issue. i think the first thing in the contents left me flabbergasted. it was a bunch of poems. i usually don't like poems. except for when i do.

Blake Butler also did cool evil things to some submissions like mine. his scheme was to accept the first time submissions that had an X in the subject line of the email and were able to run through the gauntlet of Blake's bulk mail folder. his stipulation was that he could do whatever he wanted to the things that were sent to him. i liked this idea. so i sent him something. i really liked what he did with it. i still need to read more of what he did with the things from other people. i haven't made it that far yet. almost.

i will be living down the street from Mike Young. he will be moving to the town where i live now in June. i think he decided this when i told him i was moving down the street from him. we might do an e-book anthology together. since we like the same internet-y writers. but have diametrical tastes in fiction. we will ask authors that we like for one story that is reality-based and one story that is irreal. i don't think Mike knows this. i told him we would ask for one literary story and one genre story. but i really meant one real and one irreal.

i just closed my eyes involuntarily.

i will be living with a couple from China. they were described in the ad as "a quiet and clean couple." i looked into my room and a woman was sleeping in it. she just flew in from China with another guy. they are staying for a week. after that i take the room. the room smelled like two people who had just traveled across the world. i hope it doesn't continue to smell like that. i am now a little worried. i googled the apartment area thing. this was a mistake. i found a site called ratemyapartment.com or something. most people did not have nice things to say. they complained about bad odors. they did not mention bad odors that smelled like people who had just traveled across the world. i hope the odor was the people who had just traveled across the world and not the actual room. the rest of the apartment did not smell like people who had just traveled across the world. the rest of the apartment smelled fine. mike young reassured me a little about the other bad things that people said on the website. like paper thin walls. this will not be much of a change from my current living situation. paper thin walls and vents in the floor so i can hear everything that is going on downstairs. i don't have a vent now because i moved down the hall into a small shitty room to get away from my vent. there was a vent because there is only heat on the first floor and it is supposed to rise.

i guess if my new apartment sucks i can always find a new place after the summer when the lease expires. i guess i am a subletter.

i just peed.

i walked back into my room and their was an odd odor. it did not smell like who had just traveled across the world.

i applied to the juniper writing institute for a week during the summer. i hope i get in. i hope it helps me get into grad school. i hope it serves another purpose besides helping me to get into grad school. i sent them a story about a bipolar mall security guard. i wonder if they will like it. i wonder if it's ok to use the same story as my writing sample when i apply to UMASS-Amherst since UMASS-Amherst is where the juniper writing institute is located.

Mitch! Maraude sent me the writing sample that got him accepted into Naropa. i was surprised by all the crazy shit. now i think it's ok for me to send them my usual crazy shit instead of my literary fiction that i write specifically for grad school writing samples. perhaps i will use a piece of literary fiction that i wrote specifically for grad school writing samples and a bunch of crazy shit. they may think i'm versatile. and they ask for ten more pages than everybody else.

i met Mitch! for the first time at the World Horror Convention. i liked him. we corresponded a little online in the past. he wrote the bible on the Valiant comics universe. we are both huge fans of the comic Archer and Armstrong.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Crazy Submitter Threatens My Life

This is what you get when the United States Postal Service fails you when you mail back rejected stories in a self-addressed, stamped envelope. This is what you get when a writer hasn't been published since the eighties and has become more and more insane since that decade because of this. This is what you get when that writer is still extremely upset over John Lennon's death. This is what you get when you have a policy against responding to crazy letters. Little things like this that make publishing a literary journal worth it.

Dear Bradley,

Where are my stories? What did I do wrong to deserve such a cold shoulder during The Mark Chapman Generation, Twin Towers, "Malvo", academic massacre, Amish massacre, etc? Is that it, then, Bradley, you're just going to leave me dangling? Ok, if that's the way you feel. I've never seen 1 magazine in 40 years of doing this live more than a few years after being treated so shitty as you have treated me. You actually stole one story and have others as well. What were you offended? Why, because I care not for The Mark Chapman Generation, which hasn't produced a chicken worth busting down the door to eat anyway? That's what George Carlin said about women who oppose abortion, "Have you ever noticed women who oppose abortion you would never want to fuck anyway?" Bradley, it says in the book you respond in "2 weeks or longer." Bradley, it's been quite a while, almost a year since you reported back to me. You won't publish my stories but you'll steal it and discriminate against me, someone who simply wants to earn his way into your magazine? I don't get it. I don't have access to the computer. I deserve to be punished for that? What is this, Tommy? You sure know where to put your cork.

With real love,
tons of dismay,

Crazy Man

P.S. I love the title of your mag. Don't you? Although Mark Chapman is still sitting in prison perfectly peacock proud of himself for starting a whole generation. Most of my stuff doesn't care much for The Mark Chapman Generation. In fact, most of my stuff deplores the two bit-murderer. MCG. Is that why you ban me, Bradley? Bust Down the Door is actually an adjunct of TMG? You did say "no stories about victims". Mark Chapman doesn't give a fuck about his victim, or victims, either. This will probably be the last you hear from me, so rest assured. Unless you possess a conscience, Bradley. Then we might even resume Busting Down Doors together. Amazing , how TMG does nothing but takes everything, amazing. Then they pray to "God." Uh-huh. Well, take care. Hope to hear from you soon, If you don't return my stories, one day I'm going to pick them up. I promise you that. Remember what I told you, Bradley? I am a real New Yorker? Good. Uh, no stories about what people have "done to them."

A guy in L.A. (a former "Editor") ran away from me so fast, well, I just let things go. Gosh, it's easy to put the fear in those teensy-weensy Mark Chapman clones, so easy.

I have 3 kids, Bradley, 3. That's the thing with TMG--it knows no pity, no shame--no conscience. You steal my stories? There's another Bradley Sands living in MA, down south. What a nice guy. Told me "Good luck getting your stuff back." Gosh, that's not such a typical name, "Bradley Sands," is it? I knew a "Harly Sands" once. You've read me. I'm everywhere. You've got just a little while longer, Bradley, to come through. I need more villains, like, "Bradley Sands." Why, I might even steal it to you! How the clone BDTDAEATCS. What's wrong with that, stealing your name, using it however I like? The other guy doesn't mind. Not at all. You?

Then he writes this across the back of the envelope (I guess he didn't have another piece of paper):

No, B.S., that's not the way it is done. Never was, never will be. So what do you hope to accomplish as you are? Have you used my story? Man, by lawyer vacations near you . . . . You make my ten-year-old daughter cry, B.S. she had such high hopes for us, you see. In fact, she found you in the book--for me.

Monday, April 7, 2008


I like blogger in comparison to livejournal. It is annoying to read long entries on livejournal. I am ok with reading long entries here. I like writing long entries.

I have a novella in the new Bizarro Starter Kit (Blue). It is called Cheesequake Smash-up. Cheesequake is a town in New Jersey. It is my favorite name for a town.

I forget until now: Someone, I think Carlton Mellick at the horror convention, told me that it is not pronounced Cheese Quake. It is pronounced Chess Quick. This disappoints me greatly.

I finished 665 words (the neighbor of the beast) of my story today. It is decent so far. It was not fun like I like writing to be. It was work.

My writing recently has been fun, whereas it used to be torturous. Although I like what results from the torture more, but the fun is more accessible to readers, so I think I will mostly try to stick with the fun.

But the editors of the anthology are familiar with my old style of writing and invited me to submit, so I am trying to write something resembling my old stuff. I think I am failing a little, but I am ok with this.

Working on this story today was like being at work for six hours and having to deal with a line of non-stop customers with frequent procrastination breaks. I guess the procrastination breaks would entail the customers occasionally saying really crazy things to me which entertain me greatly. Like the man-dwarf from the other night with the little, creepy hands that was telling me how he likes goth music and wearing a pentagram around his neck. Thank god for these little moments.

The writing started to go by quickly and I started to enjoy it near the end, but then I started to feel tired. Isn't that always the way it works?

I wrote up to the point in the story where the protagonist (Alex Trebek animatron gone wigger) meets Stagger Lee. Stagger Lee is a fascinating character. He was a real person. He was a black man. He killed his white buddy in a bar in 1895. Since then, he has become a character of folklore. A song was written about him. There have been many many many different variations of this song. The murder was a pretty minor incident as murders go, but "Stagger Lee has become an archetype, the embodiment of a tough-guy black man -- one who is sly, streetwise, cool, lawless, amoral, potentially violent, and who defies often white authority."

I put that in quotations because I stole it from Wikipedia.

I think it may end up being some commentary on race relations or something. I don't know. Or maybe I just think it's funny to have a wigger trying to buddy up with a guy like Stagger Lee.

Nick Cave didn't actually write the lyrics in his version of the song. I always assumed that he did. It was written by a bunch of black prisoners. We will probably never know their names. That makes sense since the lyrics are kind of hip hop-y and Nick Cave is not hip hop-y.

I chose to base my story on Stagger Lee because the book is a horror anthology and I do not really write horror. But the song is about a killing spree, so I already have the horrific subject matter there. I don't have to put any extra effort into making it a horror story, I hope.

I think I will take a break from the story for the next few days and work on outlining my novella. I worked on it once in Utah, but didn't do very much besides character profile stuff. And ever since I got home, my psyche has been too crazy to get any writing work done until today.

The housing situation isn't looking nearly so dire because I've found a few places through Craig's list where the people either have common interests with me or friends in common. Maybe we will click. People move out of my house all the time and whenever I did roommate interviews, I usually ended up picking some random who I had nothing in common with because everybody nearly everybody was a random asshole who I have nothing in common with. So hopefully I will stand out from the horde because the stuff that I have in common with the people who are looking to fill a room.

I think that after my next book (which I will probably write a second novella for besides the one that I am working on now), I will probably write a memoir-thing. I will probably use a pen name so I don't feel restricted about what I wrote about. I guess it will kind of be like some of these blog entries, the ones that I write about my past. I don't really feel restricted in my blogging, but there are some things that I want to write about that I feel like I can't write about.

But sometimes I feel a little paranoid about the content and titles of my fiction. Will a job refuse to hire me because I wrote a novel called It Came from Below the Belt? Or will it be because of the subject matter? Or will someone not rent me a room because of this? Or will an MFA program reject me because of this? I feel a lot more paranoid now in comparison to when I started this paragraph. Maybe I fucked up by not using a pen name from the very start? Oh well. It's too late now.

I think I will apply to the Juniper Summer Writing program at the University of Massachusetts. I was just reminded about it today. It is near me. It is for a week. Hopefully it is not too late to apply. I will call them now and find out.

Crawling Over Fifty Good Pussies to Get One Fat Boy’s Asshole

I am trying to get my Nick Cave story started. It is based on the song, Stagger Lee. It involves a Disneyland clone called Wackyland, the Hall of Game Show Hosts, Alex Trebek gone wigger, time travel, and a killing spree. I am having trouble getting started. It is going slowly. I have written 81 words. I would like to write at least 500 words tonight. It's almost been a month since I last wrote prose. I am not using the short, clipped sentence style that I have been enjoying lately and find extremely easy.

This used to be my first sentence:

"It was back in 3032 when the economy was sitting pretty in its penthouse suite at the Plaza Hotel when the Hall of Game Show Hosts in Zanyland had a programming malfunction."

It is a little like the first line in the song, but I deleted it because I didn't want to start with an expository sentence.

In the future, I am probably going to publish an e-book anthology called Bradley Sands is a Dick. Andersen Prunty will probably edit it. We may have come up with the concept while we were drunk. I will break his trust by quoting an email from him. He promises that "this will be the most poorly planned, ill-conceived anthology imaginable."

He has already come up with a form letter rejection: "I regret to inform you that your story, while well written, did not adequately convey to me that Bradley Sands is a dick."

I like this form letter rejection.

I am motivated to publish this e-book because Blake Butler does fun things with his literary journal and I don't do fun things with my literary journal and I want to be like him.

Every story will be called Bradley Sands is a Dick.

Earlier in this entry, I was having trouble thinking of the word "break" in the sentence, "I will break his trust by quoting an email from him." This may be why I am having such a hard time writing my story. This happens to me sometimes. I forget a lot of random words. Obviously I didn't forget the word, "break," but I forget that it was used in the context of that sentence. Sometimes when this happens, I start making telephone calls that make people think that I am crazy.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

An Interview With James

James is a thousand year old Mexican who gets his powers from his virility, the smartest person I know, and proof that the human race is devolving back into tadpoles. It should come as no surprise that he is being held against his will inside the rubber walls of Northampton State Hospital for believing he is Latoya Jackson. He livejournals at theophile.livejournal.com. Most of his good entries are hidden behind a friends only lock.

Where do babies come from?

Oh, is this one of THOSE interviews? "Let’s ask the celebrity inane questions and watch his reaction"? Well, if you were hoping to provoke a dramatic scene from me, you've got it. Who goddamn cares where babies come from? This isn't one of the important questions. At some times, in some places, there is an absence of babies, and then something happens, and the babies are there. Just accept it and move on. Quite frankly, I find this sort of navel-gazing repugnant, in a world where there are so many serious questions to ponder. Where do the clowns go when the circus leaves town? Who is it that writes the answers, upside-down, at the bottom of the page? Which Nightmare on Elm Street movie most perfectly captured the horror of sleep? Why do bad people make good death metal? There is so much we need to know, and so much left to do.

You refer to yourself as a celebrity. I did not know that you were a celebrity. Please enlighten me on why you are a celebrity.

Were you not paying attention? WHERE do the CLOWNS go, when the CIRCUS leaves town? They up the tents, they gather the poles in long, ominous clusters, they wander through the fields, absently picking up discarded soda cups and popcorn cartons. But when the trucks pull away, there isn't a greasepainted face to be seen. Not a squeaky red rubber nose in sight. Just civilians, faces drawn and hungover, in the cab of each truck, in each rusted station wagon. I think we are reasonably forced to conclude that the clowns do not leave. That, in fact, a "circus" is best understood as a clown deployment, staged at the expense of small towns across America--each of which will find, in the years to come, that their sleepy and hospitable communities have taken a turn towards the comically absurd.

I see, you think you're the interviewer as well as the subject. I bet you have all your answers pre-written by some guy who you paid in kisses. What gives you the right to choose your own questions? Give me another pre-written response and I will make you the subject in my experiment to determine the chainsaw's effect on the human brain.

Do you see what you're doing? Faced with an interviewee who doesn't blindly capitulate to the demands of your interview schedule, you become defensive. Backed into a corner. "Where do babies come from?" "Why are you a celebrity?" "Why do you write your own questions?" I can't sink my teeth into these. Babies come from somewhere, or maybe nowhere. I'm a celebrity because people love me. I write my own questions because you're not giving me anything to work with here. And there is so much left to discuss, so many issues still left unexplored. The present is getting more futuristic by the moment. There is no time to waste. Now ask me something that matters, and stop breathing through your mouth so much.

You are now the subject of my experiment to determine the chainsaw's effect on the human brain. Why is that gooey thing that's seeping out of your brain turquoise?

There is really no reason for any reader of this interview to doubt anything that we say is happening, is there? Ah, the stark simplicity of the written form. Bradley, please take your finger out of your ear. It is disquieting. Oh no! I have dropped a tray of expensive
flatware on the floor, and the ceramic pieces have effectively exploded, each into a million perfect pieces, each shaped like Florida! And, as I watch my brain drip down to join the shattered plates on the floor, I am struck by how odd this interview might seem to someone who was not here. How arbitrary the transition from nonsensical bickering to dramatic violence against heads and soup dishes might seem. Gray matter pools with red around the broken white shards. We will smile, almost sadly, at future readers who doubt your transcription, muttering softly, "You had to be there."

Why are you outside on the street, jumping on people's heads as if you were a Super Mario Brother?

Time changes us, Bradley. Even as I, at this very moment, unfold three concentric pairs of perfect gossamer wings from the back of my head, I am reminded of that recent moment when the reader of this interview read that fateful query, "Where do babies come from?" Who would have thought, then, that she was about to embark upon such a disquieting journey, so full of hostile negotiations between interviewer and subject, nonsensical rants about carnival entertainers, and never-expanded-upon references to the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise? And, as my mind fixes on this recent memory, I also think to the moment, still several breaths into the future, when that very reader will reach the final sentence of this interview and, looking back, feel vaguely annoyed at the two of us for having played so haphazardly with her free time. We stand, brave Bradley, suspended in this awkward moment like a cataract, poised to break across a gray sky before tumbling to earth again. This is why I have made the incision stretching between your left shoulder and the uppermost of your right vertebrochondral ribs, and why I have poured such a sticky-sweet acid into the resulting chasm. As my third and sixth eyes blink in tandem, a new mouth that is strictly speaking neither mine nor yours begins to hum an anacreontic melody. If you look closely you will see that my own mouth is wider than the stars, now. Do you have any other questions, cacographic Bradley, before I join in this joyous song?

Since it's obvious that you're ignoring my questions and creating ones of your own design by mixing semen with the Hebrew alphabet or something, this is my next question: Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah?

It has been a pleasure speaking with you today, Bradley.

Thank you for not answering my questions, Latoya.

Friday, April 4, 2008

anti-mental health bomb exploding in my brain

One of the first things that I saw after coming back from my trip was a clogged toilet. Welcome home!

The toilet seems to be invincible to a plunger and drano. Today, I called my landlord's son who repairs things in his father's properties. He has fixed the toilet before, with a device called a snake.

My landlord answered the phone. He said that his son had taken his own life yesterday.

I am sad. His son was a really nice guy. I am sad for my landlord. His son always seemed relatively happy.

My landlord seemed pretty calm. Maybe it hasn't hit him yet. After he realized that I was his tenant rather than his son's friend, he asked me if anything needed to be repaired. I was a little surprised that he asked this. I told him that the toilet was clogged. He told me that I had to take care of it myself. He was not mean when he said this, but he apologized afterwards as if he was being mean. I said goodbye and hung up. I forget to say something like "my condolences." I regret this a little. But I told him how sorry I was to hear about his son and how I liked him earlier on in the conversation.

My dog died too. My dad called me while I was having an overpriced beer in a hotel bar with a few writers. He died during surgery. I don't remember why he was having surgery. He was old. He wasn't really my dog. He was my parents' dog. I'm not sure if I lived with him for an extended period of time. He may have been around the last few years of high school. He was around the summer that I lived at home. He was around the few times that I lived with my parents after college. He was a very nice dog. His name was Gordon.

A couple of weeks ago, I found out that two of my housemates were moving out. There were both leaving behind their last last month's deposit, so I had this month to find their replacements. I was a little stressed about this before going on my trip. I get very stressed over every little thing. It is difficult to find two replacements at the same time. I tried not to think about this while I was in Salt Lake City. I was not looking forward to coming back and dealing with it since I'm usually the person in my house who finds new people because the others are usually too lazy.

Today, another roommate told me that she was moving out at the end of the month. Now I am very stressed out. I am going to find a new place to live instead of finding three new roommates. This will be easier. I hate finding a new place to live. I know how difficult it can be. I have interviewed potential housemates in the past. There is a lot of competition. I wish I had more friends in the area so I wouldn't have to deal with this stuff. They would probably either have rooms available or friends with rooms available. The Prince of Candy might be interested in getting a two bedroom apartment with me. He will tell me tomorrow. This will be very nice. I like the Prince of Candy a lot. I miss living with friends. But I looked at Craiglist today and two bedroom apartments seem a lot more difficult to obtain than an empty room in an already populated house.

This entry has became boring. I am stressed. I am sad. I rented the Nancy Drew movie out of the vending machine in the supermarket. I liked the Hardy Boys more than Nancy Drew when I was young. This is because I am male. Nancy Drew tries to solve the Black Dahlia murder. I wonder if she succeeds. I will see.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Are there any other entertaining blogs that I should be reading? I don't like blogs that mostly publish stories/novels-in-progress/poems/announcements about story publications. I want to be entertained by a record of a person's life or entries about their opinions.

minimum word requirement

Before Bust Down the Door had a minimum word requirement, it was very hard to fill an issue because 90% of the stories submitted were flash fiction. Now that we have a minimum word requirement 90% of the stories sent are still flash fiction. I really don't know what the fuck is wrong with people.

Rejecting stories based on an inability to meet the word requirement goes pretty quick though. I will read a paragraph or two. If I do not want to continue reading, I will reject it. I will not give the author the benefit of the doubt. I will assume if the author failed to pay attention to the minimum word requirement, they also failed to absorb the rest of the guidelines. If they send flash fiction, it is most likely a story that is not appropriate content-wise.

But I will let it go if it's a within a couple of hundred words of the minimum. And if it's within a thousand words and the author writes something like this in their cover letter: "I know this is shorter than your minimum guideline, but I'm willing to take the chance."

And I show favoritism. If I "know" a writer, I do not care about the word requirement. If I solicit a story, I do not care about the requirement.

It is very hard to fill an issue.

I am very tired.

I am at work. I just got back from Utah this morning. I might write more about that tomorrow. I am very tired.