7-26-18 How does it feel? On Fathers, Pascal’s Wager, Not listening. Repetition. Philosophical Jim-Jam. Key of Am.

How does it feel? When you do what you do I mean? Your job? Your children? Your Spouse? Your life?

If you’re like me I suspect you would have to say good and bad, mas y menos, Yin-Yang. Couldn’t be otherwise, it seems. But still the question is left there dangling? What (who) decides the difference? This is where the words would come pouring in, the history and the poetry, the feelings, chains of causation, a whole dense, rock-like world of cause, determining your effect? Or is it affect?

I’ve always felt the later, but am surprised when I discover it’s the former. Makes me think of that argument with my Dad, years ago. Think it was a minor holiday, someones birthday. Somehow I found myself challenging everyone with the flaws in the free-will argument. How when we take a seemingly physical phenomena like a ball rolling down a hill, the angle of the hill, possible resistance, shape of the ball, gravity, they all obviously determine how the ball will behave.

Biology seems a bit more complicated, yet the habits of most animals seem to us pretty regular (there’s the crux of the argument “seems”). And further look at our own lives, parents, time and local, varying statuses, preconstructed ideologies, how we make our own valuations and decisions. How much wiggle room do we really have?

Of course the wise elders quickly fall-out of this sort of debate. Seemed like it probably sounded like Martian, hippy-dippy bullshit to their generation. My Dad took the bait though, probably out of shared genetic instinct (my own biological Grandpa is not in the picture, likely because he would of took the bait!)…I’m really just talking to myself. But he got genuinely bothered by it. And then I think even more bothered by the resolve of my convictions, even my learning? Yeah, that was it. Somehow Pascal’s Wager got brought into it. The idea that even if God wasn’t true, shit was so heavy it was better just to error on the side of caution, to go with it.

I’d made the mistake of labeling it. And then producing a number of counter-arguments and solutions. I had been deep in atheism and apologetics, well beyond the straw-man college boy argument my Dad was attempting. And that’s what got him, I think. I had Alphad him in a way he hadn’t expected…He drove off that day all angry, after we wrestled ourselves outside to the cars, picking at eachother. I remember (I believe correctly, who knows) that I texted him right away. Apologizing, being the “bigger-man”, out of fear of him not talking to me, leaving it like that for too long.

He called me Master the other day. As we worked at clearling a patch on the back acre. He was having trouble getting the weed-whacker going. Had tried to ignore my suggestion that it needed some more gas, and even after filling it had trouble getting it going.

I explained, as I kneeled to get it goin. After it was off for a minute, you had to go through the whole start-up routine again, choke, press the gas primer thing, pull, wait, pull. I feel like he’s always not hearing me. No, hearing, but not listening, but then listing DEEPER thab you could EVER listen!!

I realize I do it too, with my wife. With my kids. What else am I not hearing?


First Jam of The Day:



I was considering sharing my journaling on here, thought it might provide some interesting content. Thing was though, I realized how much I would start to self-censor, and not tell the truth, thereby voiding the purpose of the journal. I have kept a semi-regular journal, notepad, for a few years now. I am almost through my second journal. I will definitely be getting another one. Considering it, I currently self-censor in my journal, which I recognize will probably never be read by anyone, except for perhaps my progeny, or my progeny’s progeny, who might see it as a novelty, schizophrenic ramblings of 21st century Great-Grandpa. That would be awesome.

Perhaps even more reason to journal on the blog. Journal on the blog, blog on the journal, we respect no noun verb delineation. It’s easier to type, I have sloppy, half retarded left handed penmanship. I can salvage some respect in the fact it may be evidence of Asiatic, or African genetics, ancestral imprints from a time when they read from right to left. Remember cursive?

So I didn’t want to blog about fighting with my wife, which was the subject of my journaling last night. Not that she would mind. I suspect she would encourage it. It is self imposed censorship, which is worse I think.

I take this approach because of that old line about, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your Grandma to read about in the paper, or on a blog in our case. I know you’re probably a bad-ass anarchist type who doesn’t give a shit about social norms, salute, but I’m frankly still a broken coward.

It’s a challenging thought though, right? If you couldn’t even put your behavior and ideas honestly on the page, wasn’t that so much evidence of your wrongness, your monstrosity? My wrongness, my monstrosity, I mean. You’re fine, I assume. Tell me otherwise.

That’s what the fight was about, communicating, good and evil, projection and clear visions of the other. Baboon and Demigod. Note, words hide the truth.

I filled up two pages of journaling last night, as I sat on my makeshift bed in the downstairs dog den. It was night two of sleeping on the couch. Again, for the record, totally self-imposed, and a passive aggressive act of injury and self-injury. I’m sure it bugs me more than her (my back aches as evidence). Something clicked though, maybe it was the journaling, maybe it was the stinky dog couch, but this was stupid.

I moved upstairs to the better couch, but still it wasn’t right. The bedroom was just a few steps down the hall, nothing but my own self imposed negativity stopped me from enjoying it. There was plenty to enjoy too, numerous soft pillows, foam mattress, air conditioning, and most importantly my beautiful, forgiving, mostly centered wife.

I woke up snug on my side of the bed. Everyone slept in, almost to eight o’clock, evidence the storm had passed. Oldest encouraged burritos from Wackdonalds, definitely not top breakfast choice for this fellow, but in the mood of reconciliation I obliged. Followed Mom out and waved her off, domestic bliss returned.

Set up a room in the basement, with a TV, where the dog couch was, cooler in the summer. We got a big table down there, the gang can use for arts and crafts. Two oldest were super excited to hang out in the basement. I went to let the two dogs out, Dante and Cujo, and was bombarded by the smell of hell itself. With wafting remnants of a subpar breakfast burrito in my throat, and naive hopes in my heart, I discovered the horror before me. Spread out two rooms ahead of me was varying portions of dog shit and shit-vomit. Forty minutes, three pairs of plastic gloves, half a paper towel roll, two dry heaving sessions, later, the room smelled of vinegar house spray and the mess was clean. The universe giggled at my muted sense of self control.

I recovered, but it was the bittersweet recovery which seems to mark adulthood. The rest of the day was a blur of parenting, dishes, dinner prep, naps(theirs not mine), barbecuing (mustard marinated pork loin, potato pack with spring onions and garlic scapes with dehydrated espolette pepper flakes, mixed greens), kids hid in the air conditioning, probably watched too much television (we are erecting the pool this weekend!). Oldest, see how I’m doing that self-censoring, don’t want to put my kid’s name out here for everyone to see, but send him to public school, and who really gives a damn? Yes, oldest son, Chay had a little league baseball game.

It’s the first of a best “two out of three” series to determine the “real” champions of his division. I had planned on going, was thinking of even taking him up there myself, coach requested he be there an hour early, that way I could sneak home before the game was done, clean up a little from dinner, water my expansive garden, pick up the messes of the day, shower, hopefully have some creative time of self, you know well rounded adult behavior. Britney (wife) assumed I was planning sitting this one out. Took five, retreated to the writer’s den, attempted to figure out what to do. I was pretty stoked to see my boy play, but also so much needed done here. It occurred to me how we lose self in family. That I literally didn’t know what I wanted to do. All options seemed to have their positives and negatives, all of it was important, but somehow none of it really mattered. Confused, I submitted to rest, which meant watering the garden, and then writing this, still need to pick up, shower, and I got this video playing in the background…



Thinking about what I’ll do tomorrow. Same feeling as before, so much to do, need to stop it, but can’t stand to waste the time like that. I wrote about the slush pile last week. It adds to the chaos, as does the writing habit itself. For instance tomorrow I am trying to decide, do I wake up early, hit the garden before the heat hits, do all my garden chores, come inside and have my writing session, but see I love that early morning writing energy, and if I get to it, no fucking around, I could still get out before the heat, but then, note the first world problem, we got breakfast and parental bliss, and Chay-boy’s got some eczema type shit on his elbow prolly should take him in for that, and maybe we got game two of the little league championship series, and I’m still working on my Travis picking, and…

Snippets #29

Adrian Chen-The Mystery of the Prospect Park Goat Heads

But most germane to my quest: The data indicate that Prospect Park has hosted an unusual number of decapitated goats over the past five years. Out of the 33 reports, nine were goat-related: seven goat heads and two decapitated goat carcasses. And out of those, half — three heads and one carcass — were discovered in Prospect Park. (Another report of an unidentified “large animal” with “whitish fur” discovered sans head in Prospect Park sounded to me like a goat, too.) Many of the reports include speculation that the goat heads related to religious rituals. But if any definitive conclusions have been reached, they are filed away in some other corner of the city’s bureaucracy.


Snippets #23

Francine Prose-Reading Like a Writer

I’ve heard the way a writer reads described as “reading carnivorously.” What I’ve always assumed that this means is not, as the expression might seem to imply, reading for what can be ingested, stolen or borrowed, but rather for what can be admired, absorbed, and learned. It involves reading for sheer pleasure but also with an eye and a memory for which author happens to do which thing particularly well. Let’s say you are facing the challenges of populating a room with a large cast of characters all talking at once. Having read the ballroom scene in Anna Karenina, or the wild party that winds through so many pages of William Gaddis’s The Recognitions, you have sources to which you can go not just for inspiration but for technical assistance. (31)

Snippets #22

Tom Reiss-The Black Count

At one point, his horse was shot out from under him. But Dumas rose, found another horse, mounted, and continued slashing away at the Austrians. A cannonball landed directly in front of him, his new horse fell, and he went down a second time, only to rise again. By the end of the morning Dumas was still cutting down enemy troops without having sustained a single serious wound. His combined forced succeeded in driving the Austrian columns back–not only out of San Antonio but down the lakeside, across the bridge, and back through the gates of the citadel they’d just escaped. (203)

Snippets #9

A. Lee Martinez-In The Company of Ogres

The homunculus droned on for hours. His squeaky voice grated on Ned’s ears and stood his hair on end. The demonic bookkeeper chanted his depraved dirge to the powers of infernal accounting, and an evil spell settled on Ned’s office. The scroll unfolded, filling the floor with line after line of cost cutting and expense trimming. The walls melted. Cruel imps cavorted in the shadows. The hourglass on the desk ran backward. And Ned could almost hear the distant howls of the damned.

The homunculus grew. The demon fed off Ned’s suffering and his agonizing boredom fed the homunculus well. By the end, he’d grown a foot taller, his skin had turned a brighter shade of red, and his tiny horns and curled into into impressive ornament. Ned hunched in his chair, drooling, with debits and credits poking at his brain with wee pitchforks

Conversation With the Muse (On Writing & Editing)

I was coming down the stairs, checked to see if the Muse was there. I thought, “Today Muse, how about we write whatever you want to write.
“Perfect,” the Muse said, “the setting is on a veranda–”
“What’s a veranda,” I interrupted.
“Look it up.”
“You know “veranda” sounds too Victorian, like that book I am reading. I don’t necessarily want to write something like that–”
“You told me we could do what I wanted to today.”
“Fine, we are on the veranda. What next?”
“There are three people there. One is the Misses of the house. The other are her two best friends. One is her Fiancé Henry, the other is her best friend, Abigail. She had been told that day by her nanny Matilda, that her two friends had been discovered in a pantry last visit, engaged in some heavy petting.”
“Listen, this sounds sort of interesting, but I really don’t want to get too deep into something like that. It’s not really my style. I want to stay a little more modern I guess, I think people find that sort of thing tedious–”
“Well,you are enjoying Johnathan Strange and Mr Norrell fine enough, aren’t you?”
“Yes, of course, a Masterpiece,” I said. “But that is what makes it unique you know? I also like the subject matter itself, and I like the style too as a matter of fact, I am just saying that I don’t think it is what I am going for.”

The Muse ignores me now. I go about my home making for another hour so. I decide to bribe the Muse with a treat. I make it an extra large cup of coffee. This is special, a night time batch. The cup is filled to the brim and I have to slurp it down with an ice cube in my mouth, so I can make my way downstairs.

I sit downstairs at my computer, clicking for interesting stuff. I can feel the Muse sitting there behind my eyes, looking at its nonexistent watch, as if it has somewhere to be. Like it doesn’t have all day for this, if I want to get going I better get started, it thinks. I tell it it’s only 5:30, we got until 7:30-8, no need to rush. It takes that as a challenge and sits backs and sips the coffee.
Ego takes over for a while here. Checks the stats on the Blog. Ego notes we are hitting record high views here, 12 in one day. “We could be a big deal,” it thinks.
“Fine,” I said,” How about we write this? Our coversation?”
“That’s gross Sir,” the Muse said. “Schizophrenic actually.”
“That’s a little harsh. Besides it can’t be schizophrenic if you’re real?”
“Tedious,” the Muse said.
“Well that is what I am going to do,” I said. “I got nothing left in the tank anyway. And I think this might be more interesting.”
“I’d rather stay on the veranda.”
“Fine, I meant no disrespect. Please let’s begin then. ‘A veranda, covered in holly…’”

Have Fun! (On Writing And Editing)




You want to know how I know I am a writer? Because I am having fun doing it! Like, a lot of fun. It’s that simple. Writing isn’t something that drains me of energy, but something that gives me energy. Though I rarely meet my highest expectations, I always make a little forward progress and get closer to being my best as a writer.

I finished the first draft of a new short story today, and it has me very excited. Like, I like the story. There’s some good elements there. It made me laugh and cheer, maybe even tear up a little bit, I don’t know. The work is a step towards a larger imaginary space I am working at creating and it is exploring themes that are important to me. And I’m excited to let my wife read it!

This is what people mean by they “can’t not” do something, the urge aspect of certain behaviors. Once you have experienced a joy like that, you have to keep going; it directs you. This mindset allow you to come at your art from a pure, healthy place. Have fun at your art; it shouldn’t be a struggle or hard, through you will definitely struggle and it is hard! Joy in the struggle; that’s the transcendent goal in art. Make a meal more than a meal. Make a book more than just a book. Make a painting more beautiful than life.

Editing looms like a mountain before me. I have got to start finishing these projects. The books sits in the basement, getting hungry. I want to let it loose, but I got to let it germinate for at least 2-1/2 weeks or something…just ignore it…So yes, instead I’m going to focus now on editing another old short story, and get that finished!  Keep an attainable goal in the front of your mind.