Friday, November 28, 2008


There is a book called The Artist's Way that many writers have read and swear by. Bear's owner has it; last spring I picked it up once after walking Bear and began reading it. For a month, I would read a bit more of it every day after walking Bear, until I had finished it. My ritual of reading the book conformed nicely to its central message, which is that artists need to be kind to themselves, be patient, and nourish themselves in small ways over time.

One exercise you're supposed to do while reading the book and following its doctrine: morning pages, three pages of longhand writing that can be about anything you want, written at the start of each day. Ideally you're to keep doing these after you're done with the book/course. I've been doing them. Now I have just looked through one of my notebooks full of morning pages and I feel like I want to stop doing them. When I complete them every day, I often feel like it's not necessary to write anything else. So instead of a notebook full of good drafts, I have pages upon pages of material that sounds like, "Dumb I feel dumb today I am dumb dumb dumb and also hungry. WHAT TO EAT? Also tired!" accompanied by marginal drawings of cute boys in sweaters.

I was going to scan in a sample page and post it here, but one of the main things you're not supposed to do with your morning pages is show them to anybody. Apparently it is self-sabotage.

The other piece of writing of mine I considered today was NO RADIO NOTHING IN TRUNK, the novel about college radio that I wrote when I was a senior in high school. I used to put on my resume that I had written a novel, before I knew how to write a resume. It's a funny read for many reasons, but this time I laughed at the names: in one scene kids are looking at records by "Vanilla Trainwreck" and "Toaster Strudel." It took me a second to remember that Vanilla Trainwreck were a real band, while Toaster Strudel was a band name I made up. Another funny thing about NO RADIO NOTHING IN TRUNK is that there are about ten semicolons on each page.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Holiday Times

I have a whole half-day off and then I am DJing tonight! Lucky me. I'm right now laundering and listening to records. It's fun.

Here's a post Ryan Call wrote on HTMLGiant about the Secret Santa ring they are running. I'm going to participate, and you should too! Secret Santa is cool. It occurs to me that it's been a long time, years and years, since I last did something like that, either focused on independent publishing or not.

Thanksgiving this year will find me in Brooklyn with a few friends and hopefully not too much open hostility. I love Thanksgiving, mainly because of how much I love eating, but this particular group of friends (including me) have been known to argue with each other constantly. I just hope that doesn't get out of hand, is what I'm saying. The turkey v. tofurkey debate has already been won, by turkey, because we are eating at the home of Shay the vehement anti-vegetarian. Tofurkey had its day last T-giving, when Dave the vegetarian hosted. Dave ate part of the tofurkey and later, I assume, cuddled with it.

There is no Nazario Scenario tonight because so many of us WHFRrs are out of town -- the DJing alluded to above is a Ding Dong stint. But here is a cartoon I just drew about it for the WHFR program guide that Vern is making.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dog Walkery

Hey, I have a story, titled "Big C and Lil Puppet," out in Wigleaf now. I'm extremely happy it's up, and I hope you like reading it. (I guess, before that, I hope you read it.) Here it is!

Wigleaf editor Scott G. interviewed me about it and put the interview on his blog. You can read that here.

I think it's funny that I was self-conscious about all this stuff yesterday (see post below) and now here's proof that I shouldn't necessarily be...

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Perennial Lament

I'm a writer living in New York. Not always, but often, I write about New York: my stories are set in my neighborhood, populated by the types of people I run up against each day. I have to do this. When I don't do this, the work feels contrived and overblown. I've tried fantastical rollicking satire of the Barthelme kind (Barthelme lived in New York), but I'm... not good at it? So, yeah, I have a lot of stories about walking dogs, going to parties, breaking up, making dirty jokes with friends, and eating pizza -- all against the backdrop of gritty, hilarious upper-upper Manhattan. They're not all good, but some of them are, I think, good.

Nobody likes this. People get angry about it before they've even read it. It's discouraging. However, something that's partly comforting to me (and partly more discouraging) is the idea that people don't hate it because it's in New York, they hate it because it's about mundane quotidian stuff.

But is it really so mundane? Why, even when it's based on sad, disturbing events, does my fiction always come off like an Archie comic?

Better than a Cathy comic, I suppose.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Ryan Lynch recently showed me a link to a site called Bacon Today, which is promoting a Thanksgiving entree called the Turbaconducken. This, as you may have hoped, is a turducken wrapped in bacon.

I thought it looked like a masterpiece of culinary excess, and couldn't wait to, maybe not make one myself, but eat a piece of one that someone else had made.

When I read the recipe I discovered not only that the turkey is wrapped with bacon after being stuffed with the duck and chicken, but that the chicken and duck are also wrapped in bacon.

The thing seems pretty easy to make. The recipe is here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Items On Kitchen Counter

Almost-empty coffee can
Almost-empty Jim Beam bottle
1.5 lemons
Pair of silver fish tongs
Small jug maple syrup
2-liter Coke bottle
Flyer for NYC CD and Record Show

(Thanks, recent guest, for pointing out the absurdity of this tableau.)


I'm on the radio tonight, 11/19, at 7 PM.!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Something Awry

I took a walk because I was uninspired and feeling annoyed about it. I went to Janoff's, which is a great stationery and art supply store, and bought a little notebook and a pen there. This notebook is going to be used exclusively for my new project, which is a series of thirty very short stories or essays (or maybe half will be stories and half essays). I'm stalled on that project currently and mad about this. Then I went into Milano Market and did not buy anything, but I fantasized about someday buying a lot of different things that they sell there, such as the imported provolone that hangs from ropes, and the chicken parm sandwiches on soft bread that looks a lot like challah bread, each with a sundried tomato on top held in place with a toothpick, a hot tray of which I saw a guy carry out from the cellar right in front of me.

Then I walked further uptown, up Broadway, until I veered east to Amsterdam at 120th because I had decided I wanted something from Cafe Fresh. I saw a young blonde preppie woman in a black fleece jacket walking the opposite way. She noticed her shoe was untied. To tie it, she lifted her leg up and rested the sole of her sneaker on the side of a building. To me this looked ridiculous and ostentatious. I remarked to myself, "Of course, she's too good to kneel down to tie her shoe. To stoop? To tie her shoe? Oh, she'd never!" and I said other things like this to myself, until I laughed and felt better. And now I still feel a little better about my life and my writing, and all that.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I Am Linking To An Article

When I was eighteen a palm reader said my career line faded halfway up, meaning that in my thirties I would probably become a "hausfrau." Ever since then, I've had a bad habit of looking at my palm and checking to see if the line has gotten any longer. Not to have a career (even if I had a secure, loving family) would be, for me, the most boring and depressing thing imaginable.

Here is the article, about the pitfalls of being a woman author/woman literary or journalistic presence in this digital age. A coworker at the writing center sent it to me and I read it all, and appreciated it. Well-worn territory, but still.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Word Twist: Roaring Back

For the past few weeks I have been unable to win a Word Twist match against Amanda B. It got to the point where I was giving up hope of ever beating her at Word Twist, ever again. She routinely beats me by about 100 points. Embarrassing.

But in this morning's contest I won one round handily, and went on to capture the match. The six-letter word that put me over the top, which the other Amanda failed to notice? BODEGA.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm the man I'm the man I'm the man I'm the man/I'm the man I'm the man I'm the man I'm the man

I can't stop listening to the Joe Jackson album I'm The Man. Other things are happening too, but that's the main one.

Last night I had a dream that I was pregnant, like really big. I have never had a dream like that before. I was going to write the whole thing out here, but decided not to. I am frustrated because I want to write more.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good Mood

I think right now I'm just going to list a bunch of things that I like. I like putting maple syrup in my coffee, and maple syrup in general. I like the father-and-son team who run the beer depot on 12th Ave, who delivered my keg to me last night. I like the party we had for WHFR. I like my records. I like my method of displaying the album cover on top of the phonograph as the record is playing. I like being at a party with a lot of DJs at it so that other people do fun things with my records. I like that, after the party was over and I went to bed, I had a great, very colorful dream set outside a Korean deli that for a little while I thought really happened. I like getting NO COLONY in the mail and the prospect of reading it on the bus later today. I like that Chris Difford is going to be interviewed on Michael Shelley's show this morning and so Michael is playing a bunch of Squeeze. I like making apple fritters and creating a smoke condition in my apartment. I like dogs. I like my bicycle.

Here is a drawing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Things I thought about when the election was called:

My mother and stepfather, who are from Europe, both became U.S. citizens so they could vote in this election.

I'm housesitting in an apartment on the Upper West Side whose rightful tenants went to Ohio to volunteer. This is a neighborhood full of richies who need their chairs pulled out for them, etc., but Broadway has been alive with whooping and horn-honking and stuff. Rowdiest it's ever been down here.

The day after Election Day 2004 was one of my least favorite days ever. Walking around New York seeing everyone so sad, not wanting to look at each other -- this made me feel bad in such a deep way. I can't wait to walk around tomorrow. I think?

Yeah, I dunno. I don't usually love talking about politics, because I think I sound boring when I do. But gots to have said something or other. Yep, I voted. I always vote, I just don't talk about it. Usually.