Snippets 103 


Source

Houdini-Gresham 

Vaudeville tempo had changed mightily during the time Houdini was away, selling Liberty Bonds and making motion pictures. The country seemed to be marching to Georgie Cohan’s “Over There.” Autos were faster and roads were better for them to be faster on. Pioneer Station KDKA in Pittsburgh had begun daily broadcasts and America was in the grip of a new mania soon to replace the Ouija board–sitting crouched over crystal sets with earphones clamped to its ears. The big build-it-yourself radio boom was just around the next corner. And to a generation that had gone through the First World War, the sight of a man jumping of a bridge and getting out of handcuffs under water created no hysteria. (227) 

Snippets 73

Ursula. K. Le Guin-Lavinia

Though people often confused it with weakness or duplicity, tact is a great quality in a ruler, whether of a country or a household; awareness of the other allows respect, and people respond to it, returning the recognition and the respect. Aeneas governed with tact, and was beloved for it. (204)

Why are things so fucked? AKA The Problem of Evil, An Anecdote

Probably happens to you, watching the news, sitting in traffic, waiting in line at Wal-Mart, it just hits you, things are totally fucked. I see evidence everywhere. Giant grey produce bins at the grocery store. I like to go as early as I can. Avoid the fuck-stuff. Produce manager’s job every morning is to come remove the spoiled, wasted food. It’s a big bin. For days I’ve watched him just loading it to the brim. Delicious greens, pears, bananas, all just left to rot, then to the dumpster. I think about how much waste this grocery store has in a year. How little fruits and vegetables this neighborhood actually consumes.

Getting gas. “Kyle! Kyle!” A man screamed across the parking lot at his friend. Guys hops out the truck. There old friends, probably High School buddies, slap each other on the back. Start reminiscing. Saw the Texas plates. Thought it looked like you. Figured it had to be. Fuck, how you been? Good, good. How long you been in town? Few weeks, you live around here now? Yep, just a couple blocks up. Awesome, yeah I’m staying with my parents. They live in these apartments, social security type thing, up on 33rd street. Oh great…When did the arrested development phase of humanity begin, my mind wonders? I’m pretty sure I was born into it. I can testify to its presence from my earliest memories, say circa 1987. I’m sure I was aware of it then. Its colors are Pepsi red and blue, synthesizers and bass, Aquanet, smooth tanned thighs.

From research, and considering good USA specifically, I think the Great Depression strikes might me as a likely starting point. Maybe more broadly we would want to place it during the Industrial Revolution, 1760-1840s, when the massive modern cities were created, and people left their agriculture and tribal roots and got in the race for the dinero. But that’s just the “arrested development”, no more human beings phase, the true fuckery, well that’s as old as time itself isn’t it? Isn’t a bigger fuckery than the umbra itself, the primordial black abyss that spawned the whole thing. Where laws of physics and causation are suspended, anything is possible, welcome to La-La-Land. Table of two. We’ll get you right over here. Next to Larry, his wife Marge, a six pack of tall-boys, and a cartoon of cheap cigarettes. Would you like a t-shirt?

Lady at my kids school the other day had to be told to move out of the bus line. Multiple signs state this fact. A dozen people lined up on the streets, with signs, and vocals established this fact the first three weeks of the new school year. Most everyone seems to get the message. Except for the roots of fuckery, they never seem to get the message. She had to be asked to move. Almost gets in a wreck puling out, goes around the block, parks it on the median in a front of a house across the street. Gets out of Escalade (chop my dick off, if that’s paid off), begins to assault young child in the back of the car. I will beat your fucking ass, if you scream again. Shut the fuck up. Stop screaming goddammit.

I stand there, blood boiling. Another parent and I make eye contact, give each other the look. Social consensus, fuckery. The lady comes over to talk. We can’t believe it. I tell her I’m about to snap, but then I’ll be just as bad, making a scene in front of everyone. Fuckery provokes other fuckery. A chain of fuckery stretching into the horizon, a stunning purple and blue horizon painted by Bob Ross…

It’s 9:55AM, I’m in the lab. I am Holden Caulfield, and you’re all phonies. Let’s get these words.

An Antidote:

9-13-16 Journal Snippet

Got stung by a wasp Sunday. Went to pick up a stick and move it while mowing, flung the bastard on me. Felt like an ant at first, they’ve been in contact, but when I felt the pinch, and saw the lil fucker burrowing in, I realized the truth. I ripped it out, stormed around, cursed like a madman, went back to mowing defiantly. When I went inside we went through all the bullshit remedies for things like this, lavender oil in the wound, baking soda paste on the arm, Gregorian chanting. None if it worked, hours later arm was swelling, itchy as shit, bad enough I had to have my wife run to pharmacy to get the benadryl. I was embarrassed by my swelling member, feared sight of it might cause a panic, send them running for an epipen or ambulance.

Been battling that for last two days. Bendaryl made me sleepy, grouchy. Parenting little ones is oddly physical too. Loss of my dominant arm left me flustered. Makes you think too how weak our bodies are, how easily things can invade. Just a little swelling and redness had my whole ;eft arm out of commission. The thing pinged me for a second, with a minuscule amount of poison, and it did that much damage. There’s a lesson in there: small things can have a huge affect. Words and emotions most of all…

Reading: Hill & Rodriguez Locke and Key VOl 2 Head GamesTom Sawyer Abroad and Other Tales by Mark Twain.

Snippets 70

Ninja 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior A New History-John Man

Like a theologian wrestling to reconcile scripture with some alleged piece of evidence, Onoda took a while to see that this, too, was fake. Of course the school knew who had issued his orders. It was all there in the records. This was merely a way for his bosses to send him a message: Hang on, Onoda! We haven’t forgotten you.

Snippets #68

Ninja 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior A New History-John Man

Yamada’s ninjas, cut off for centuries in their mountain fastness, have interbred and evolved into magical beings, monster or beauties who can fly, shape-shift, and deploy outlandish fighting skills. One can spurt blood from every pore, another is a slug-like creature without limbs, a third has a body like jelly that can absorb sword blows and squeeze through the narrowest spaces. (238)

8-5-16 (Slice of the Morning Stream Amidst Editing)

In the lab, 10:58AM. Had an early dentist appointment, taking in info and stimulation now, mind wanders towards editing. This is a day dedicated to writing. I watch this video on Joyce, one of the great ones. Writers are my favorite people. Mainly because they’re like perception and cognitive super heroes. I want to be one. I might be. A quarter sized dangerous looking spider paraded passed on the window pane. It had a worthy ant clutched in its front legs. Earlier, during the Joyce video, an ant ran on to the screen. I let it wander, wondering if it was into the subject like I was.

Mechanics, execution, these are my trouble areas. I write, think, talk in a complicated fashion, and making that work in prose is a challenge. I need to slow down. I feel like I’m in a big ocean and if I stop treading water I’ll sink. That’s generally my attitude towards editing, feels like I’m sinking, drowning.

Stop that shit, greater self urges. Focus you lazy, weak belly, bastard. It’s work, a craft, not supposed to be easy. Don’t waste your time, your life. Do or do not, there is no try. Thanks Yoda.

The ant’s back. It walks on these words as I edit them, then falls off the screen. Not a fan?

Snippets #60

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee-Dee Brown

Their musical names remained forever fixed on the American land, but their bones were forgotten in a thousand burned villages or lost in forests fast disappearing before the axes of twenty millions invaders. Already the once sweet-watered streams, most which bore Indian names, were clouded with silt and the wastes of man; the very earth was being ravaged and squandered. To the Indians it seemed that these Europeans hated everything in nature–the living forests and their birds and beasts, the grassy glades, the water, the soil, and the air itself. (7)

Snippets #33

James Wood-How Fiction Works

84

If Macbeth’s story is one of publicized privacy, Raskolnikov’s story is one of scrutinized privacy. God still exists, but he is not watching Raskolnikov–at least, not until the end of the novel when Raskolnikov accepts Christ. Until that moment, Raskolnikov is being watched by us, the readers. The crucial difference between this and the theater is that we are invisible. In David’s story the audience is in some important way irrelevant; in Macbeth’s the audience is visible and silent, and soliloquy does indeed have the feeling not only of an address to an audience but of a conversation with an interlocutor–us–who will not respond, a blocked dialogue. In Raskolnikov’s story the audience–the reader–is invisible but all-seeing; so the reader has replaced David’s God and Macbeth’s audience. (146)

New Segment! For Writers! Is this a sentence?!

So I have this interesting idea for a regular post. Each time I put up a new batch of words on a first draft, I am going to try and find a goofy looking sentence, or couple of sentences and then ask you brilliant reader/writer, IS THIS A SENTENCE? More than that, I would love to see how you would rewrite the sentence to make it a sentence. Do it. In the comments. It’ll be fun, maybe?

The inaugural sentence,from my work in progress, “Confession of the Werewolf”, which may or may not ever see the light of day, tell me, is this a sentence?

The cut felt deep and sent me into a rage I cannot describe, and as I came to attack him again I hit him with a number of blows and scraps, and I began to realize I was losing it, the wolf was going to kill this man, and I was going to lose the Chateau.