Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Post '09 99th blogpost Of 'O9

I began the year, all at sea, broke, barely-working, living in a weird part of town.

I began the year beginning this blog.

I began the year finishing up 2666. And having nightmares.

And thereby, after thinking hard on it, I devoted myself to forging an equally ambitious, sloppily elegant beast. Or two of them. And convincing myself every day that it is important.

That the stories I tell myself will be ones that people will want to read. And that will be important too.

Learned much this year from reading Carson McCullers, Samuel Delany, John Berger, Stephen Elliott, Paul Bowles, Carol Queen, Iris Murdoch and Steve Erickson, among others.

A couple books I didn't get around to talking about that I read this year, books that are almost too difficult, too "transgressive" to comment on (actually I was just lazy):

The Leather Daddy And The Femme by Carol Queen
334 by Thomas M. Disch
Evil Companions by Michael Perkins

And now, as I slip into what calls itself 2010, I'll have one more big, monster of a book I'm going to be starting.

Clocking in at about 1300 pages, and verifiably a neglected novel, if not a neglected masterpiece: Women And Men by Joseph McElroy.

Besides that there is the usual list of things for the new year:

finishing the first novel

submitting more stories and essays
something political
something philanthropic
expand my cooking repertoire
that one yoga class
that one horticulture class (actually signed up for)
exploring and documenting
a trip? camping?
health. . .
savings. . .
fellowships. . .
ink stains
letter writing
propagating useful fictions

making play in the ruins.

good night 09!

A quick beginning to the 2nd Novel.

Although I'm struggling to not only start, work on and finish the first novel, the opening passage, or some variation of that for the second novel in the projected series has just come to me. So I've decided to spit it out here.

"In the Times before ours, that is to say before the Miracle-working Gangstresses and Lunatic Medicine Shows terrorized and defamed us, before the country became a spitting black cauldron of war, chicanery and depletion, a boy with a peculiar deformation was born to a pair of young singers, a man and a woman who were hellbent to make it to San Francisco in time for a very famous poetry reading.

He was born on the road, in a motel parking lot, under a patio umbrella, next to a drained pool. The Haitian maid happened to be a midwife. Percy's mother wept in her arms for hours. Percy's father spent his own tears in a biker bar.

They named their boy, in fulfillment of some unconscious omen, Crispin Percius and alternately called him Crispy or Percy depending on their moods, which were often drug-induced and subject to the passing winds of some unknown threat. In no short time, this young man would grow to be among the country's most hunted treasures not entirely for reasons of his own.

He also grew to be one of our country's most famous poets, whose masterpiece: Ariadne: Her Urinals became a very common souvenir left at crime scenes of all varieties. Including the more notorious slayings of noted financiers which you might remember from your history books. . ."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mythopoetic Site Study San Diego Part 2

Writing some of the semi-fictional back story of the narrator of a fictional memoir. . . so traversing some more visual references from my "hometown."

Memories of things lived and things dreamed and things read all get mixed together and coagulate until you can't separate one from the other.

This is part of the crux of the memoir-novel.

When a young man's marriage comes to an end for no discernible reason,

he is beset upon by memories he can neither confirm nor deny. Each new memory unlocks an old one.

His head feels like a flooded prison. Getting more flooded by the day.

Suddenly the people around him, the women and men he gets involved with all seem to be trying to help him unlock something that may or many not have happened to him.

Even his own hairdresser plays the part of some kind of "revelation-pimp" where with every six weeks, he bestows upon the hapless narrator some kind of password or evolving insight as he hacks away at the wild silver and black foliage on top of his head.

One of the garden-holes he plummets down involves an encounter at a rickety old Victorian arboretum many years back

in that twilight period between his late boyhood and early adolescence, when a dark woman with ice blue eyes in a long dark coat, (or maybe it wasn't a women at all) hands him a briefcase, but before he can accept it he is whisked away by his parents.

(But the smell of her. . the rare-earth spices, rotten humidors, ships. . .so reminiscent of how his twin sister smelled when she came back late at night from the ravines and fields near their house. . .)

This encounter happens inside the dim, pungent causeways of the arboretum.

A place I was at a few days ago in real life.

Where I was fascinated by the Ecuadorian blood leaf. Imagined a room adorned with nothing but thousands of bunches of blood leaf and how one might go mad inside such a room.

The young man needs to understand which memories actually belong to him, or which ones are actually important in deducing the course of his life. He has his hair-dresser as a guide. He has other guides: lovers, friends, guys who sit on stoops, old ladies who deal drugs in empty churches, etc.

He remembers one of his first "revelation-pimps": a shadowy man at his high school who demanded information about several students and student organizations.

And how they met at an incongruous corner, in a little Arabic-Turkish-Basque tea house set like an oasis amidst the parched depots and overpriced fishmongers of a desert downtown.

And how there was a tango instructor there named Jill Solomon Miller who was one of the first truly beautiful women he remembers meeting in person.

Cafe Bassam is no longer at its original location on this wonderful corner where you can melt into the backdrop of the loud, expensive nightlife, on wooden chairs paired with marble-topped cafe tables, obscured by thin, leafy trees. Where my friends worked and spoke of conspiracies and arguments and secret backroom deals and secret backroom staircases leading to locked rooms that emanated a pulsing blue light.

And where. . .many backroom deals were made in the darkness of the sidewalk-trees with students and teachers and insiders alike, all masquerading as one another. . .over countless espressos and Gitanes Blondes and revelation-scandals.

The place was open late, later than bars, until three or four in the morning and you could smoke inside and play chess with men who didn't really speak your language. And here the mysterious owner, a man with a steely smile and a differently-colored beret depending on the day of the week, sold me an antique cigarette case. . .made from the bullet-casings of a pistol fired during the Hundred Year's War. . .

or so the owner's friend insisted. . .

That very shadowy man, not the owner nor the owner's friend, but the shadowy man who paid us to spy on our fellow students,

he got me a summer job running a rickshaw through the night streets of coastal San Diego, a shady, unlicensed operation if ever there was one. . .and its base of operations was through the dark porticoes and arcades of Balboa Park. . . . past all the museums, or at least most of them until you reached
the basement of the Museum Of Natural History. In the basement of a museum, a glum, unfurnished, windowless room, a plywood desk

and a single light bulb hanging over it, dangling, faint pearly conspiratorial light. . .

Monday, December 28, 2009

Myths Of Place And Setting

As I make my way through Steve Erickson's books, while inevitably taking breaks, short and long to dip into all the other unread masters I have heaped around my life,

I'm thinking about his 8-plus novels (only 2 of which I've read), most of which have to do with the cinema, or Los Angeles, or alternative surreal histories of America to some degree, and how they all supposedly constitute one large oceanic novel.

Sort of like Proust, or how Kerouac's novels were all one "Visions Of Duluoz". . .

I've always liked that idea. Which is why short stories, when I write them, tend to share common denominators, common settings, or variations on the same setting.

And why I'm drawn to a project now, a series of novels and "memoirs" that all interconnect and reflect and draw from each other. Featured warped visions of me and warped visions of not-me. False memoirs and true novels.

(A project that is not unlike what people as diverse as John Berger, Jeanette Walls, J.M. Coetzee are doing now. And in terms of the memoir craze, I'm completely of the moment even if, at one point, or many points, I have been ashamed of and/or afraid of the seductive life-writing impulse for reasons that were silly, short-sighted and completely illusory.)

When I think of connected books and how each book is part of a larger book, it's kind of like that saying, not sure who said it, but that you usually only have ONE IDEA in life. . .which isn't exactly true. You have many ideas, many motifs but maybe, just maybe they tie into a larger, more cosmic motif that defines you, often without you knowing it.

Which is like that saying, "The fox knows many things, the hedgehog knows one big thing. . ."

In my case, and for this prospective project, there is perhaps one thing: The Missing Beloved, which is like The Missing City.

Or the Sister That Ran Away To The Forgotten city.

Which is part of that relentless lineage of books that all feature someone who's searching for a mysterious other person, and in cases of male protagonists often the missing other person is a woman ((a theme that also reoccurs in Erickson's novels)). . .

But never mind that now. What I wanted to talk about was one of the recurring settings that is deeply rooted in my life.

I was down in San Diego for the holidays,
a city that I grew up in, lived in for many years and go back to for short intervals during the holidays, and I'm always, each time I go down, succumbing to different torrents of memory, often of varying intensities and warring degrees,

and the consequence of this can be a sometimes disorienting see-saw between comforting melancholy and uneasy exaltation.

I like the brick and the verdigris of my parent's place. The downtown sea winds. The hot dry brightness and the quotes by Martin Luther King on the stones that lead down to the port. The seascapes down here, perforated and punctured and defined by military prowess are dazzling and somewhat terrifying.

And I always smell the summer I worked on a tour yacht that did rounds of the bay past all the grey ships and the ship builders and the submarines. A summer enjoyed on many levels but wasted on one: pining for a missing blond.

Now, navigating through the Bourbon Street-feel of the Gaslamp Quarter,
you find Broadway where things start feeling dingier and more gutted, and the signs of a few archetypal holiday dives that are featured in a few tales I've told begin to show themselves near the stained bus shelters and the liquor stores and the check-cashing places.

I find parallels between downtown San Diego and downtown Oakland even if these parallels are a stretch. Or are just elements common to any city. What really connects them is the warehouse feel of their downtowns by the water.

The sense that some fundamental, browbeaten history is being obscured.

Chee-Chee Club on Broadway had, in the past and this last holiday, shown my friends and I some of that history. . .

But just being a voyeur never entirely helps.

The idea of a city whose old skins go to recreate its citizens. . .

More later. . .

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Days Off

I'm thinking of doing, if not a Top Ten, at least a semi-list of memorable "events" (of mind, of life) that happened this year. . .got a few days left.

In the meantime, I've been plunged into the watery dreams of another Steve Erickson novel, Rubicon Beach.

Although I don't have the above copy, I do appreciate the 80's aesthetic of it.

More to say on Erickson later, but as I've been reading Rubicon Beach I've also been succumbing to tiny little wine-induced cat naps all of which have been wracked by dreams wrested from his own visions of a submerged, swampy Los Angeles peopled with buccaneers, vengeful prostitutes who live in flooded hotels, beautiful Indian girls from shipwrecked forests, etc. etc. He' s a writer who verily invades your dreams and mangles them. Good, strong, unique stuff.

Erickson is a writer preoccupied with a vision of America, but not the America of Sarah Palin or Barack Obama but the America that exists somewhat in a subterranean state beneath all the official decrees, histories and prophecies.

So it was great to find him included in a giant, hodgepodge of a book I'm also leafing through and just came out recently, the Greil Marcus co-edited A New Literary History Of America.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Cendrars For Christmas

This Christmas I remembered a Cendrars book I had forgotten (see above), one of a few in English I don't have, so I promptly ordered it from alibris.

Meanwhile, warm dry brightness of Southern California and sea glare, a stark contrast to the wet wild darkness up north.

Much in the way of old-time merriment with old friends, esoteric jokes, games of wit, obscene toasts, life-affirming blasphemies, strong ales, brazen innuendos, sweet potato fries, a huge bar tab, vodka and ginger ale, a trip through the dingy part of downtown, stockpiling research, Muscovy duck, abandoning plans, reassuring ourselves, finding old keepsakes and contemplating lists for the new year, as well as all the qualms and tiny dreads and large joys that go with the aforementioned.

Have a great day everyone.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Garbled Year End Disjecta Thesis

2009 is
making its way to an end,
which means that this blog, begun on or around January 1st of this year, is a pretty accurate chronicle of all the things that have "happened" in '09,

at least in the head of this one avid reader, writer and

obsessive personality who made the pilgrimage, in life-terms, from part-time clerk's clerk living
in the stony plains of the Excelsior to full-time book peddler living

in the red and gold highlands of Bernal.

What it has tried to record is wherever life has bled a little from its own unwritten pages, wherever narrative and poetic maps have stenciled themselves in unlikely corners of these often hastily forgotten 24 hours.

That's just experimental fancy talk for saying: it wasn't really about life, but life through the filter of words and ideas.

Considering life from the perspective
of what I want to write about and what, inextricable to writing,
I want to read is a good way to make my head explode.

If truly the printing press was the single most important invention of Modern Times than its acolytes, or at least some of them, have become a perverse band of day-dreamers and spiritualists and table-knockers.

Because I want to read and write about everything. So what does one do? Except talk to the spirits in the head.

Or install interesting filters I think. Saying No is liberating. Censoring is liberating. Blockage and congestion and dams are freeing. Saturate every atom, yes, but only the atoms you need.

The Massive World Books keep trying to be written, have been written, will constantly elude being written, but that's because the Massive World already exists, so Tiny-Massive Worlds must suffice in ink-tones, like one of my favorite novel's titles, Little Big.

Adhere to new angles, to the hidden geometries of the same story. Writing, for all its hard talk of being hard, is only fulfilling if it absorbs you like love does. And love, for it to last, requires sniffing out new angles.

Come to the conclusion that you'll never read everything, not even close and that reading isn't actually the most important activity in life, only a part of it.

What is then?

Well, it is something that subsumes reading under its vague umbrella: I think the most important activity is something that cannot quite be defined: which is a sort of mutually-shared idleness that masquerades as work,

a labor of languor that borrows nothing from the

indexes of tension and resentment, a vastly fulfilling and absorbing non-doing defined by laughter and gratitude that sweeps away the dictates of time, hierarchy, and anxiety.

But actually the most important thing might be empathy.

But you can only empathize when you are idle in your heart. When you are relaxed, freed from the tension of being sized up, or taken down, or minute-by-minute stripped of your dignity which can happen minute-by-minute even if nothing seems like its happening.

I feel I write to empathize. I create characters that I want to empathize with. I create situations that I feel like I can step into. I might not want to step into them. In fact, it's crucial that many of them I don't want to step into, but that I will step into them because I can.

The most important thing about empathy is that, as a feeling it always falls short of accuracy but that accuracy doesn't matter.

Which is to say, in writing to empathize I really write to relax.

I want to feel idle in the world and in normal life, life being what it is, absolute relaxation is impossible or it's fraught with all the tremors of mortality.

Desiring to empathize already joins you with those that don't give a fuck about you. And you're expected to fail because you must.

But I meant to write notes about the year.

The year had a 9 in it, so it started off propitiously, and where there were hard times, which were few, these were softened by the oxygen of inspiration, or as William James calls it, the oxygen of possibility. Imaginary possibilities many of them.

And many the time I ca e up against the discord of Art and Life, the latter which isn't work or art or art-work but something that embraces yet repels all of those things. So easy to just plug in to imaginary apparatuses and let others cavort and carouse. To do both requires living up to extremities.

Looking at yourself from the point of view of a Challenge or a Duel or some Unknown Bond. Which isn't self-inflating as much as it can be self-flagellating.

As for the year I don't have any best-of lists, or highlights; maybe at the very least I'll try to recap some of the books I read that I didn't afford adequate mention yet.

But tonight is going to be delivered Cambodian food and a Ken Russell movie and reading more Steve Erickson.

I've sat down lately to compile some many working notes for a longish essay/appreciation of Blaise Cendrars, as well as try and articulate my thoughts about Paul Bowles and The Sheltering Sky, the last novel I read.

What I couldn't say in a rambling, free-associate manner here, I tried to distill more pithily, or at least more blog-friendily at

The Rumpus on Thursday, with the addition of mentioning Bowles' travel essays.

I wanted to say something else, about the title I picked for the blog that January day so long ago.

It refers to a song by the great and unusual band The Fall, which also has something to do with an upcoming part two blog about Cendrars and another Fall album.

But yes: "Underground Medecin" is the first song on the second side of The Fall's debut album, Live At The Witch Trials. Here's the lyrics:

(Your nervous system, your nervous system) (Underground medicine, underground medicine) A spark inside [Covers up what I hide] And when it clicks There's no resist Every time I hear a new baby cry I thank my spark inside And you get underground medicine Underground medicine [I'm full of] nervous system Underground medicine I found a reason not to die A reason for the ride The spark inside When you hit some [mind] you get Underground medicine Underground medicine [I'm full of] nervous system Underground medicine I had a psychosomatic voice And one time it might come back Underground medicine Underground medicine [I'm full of] nervous system Underground medicine On my pants I spilled expectorant And the colonel [...] They took his cup away Take it away, take it away [...] medicine [...] medicine [...] medicine

So yes empathy and writing and intense idleness is about that spark inside, the flint in the nervous system releasing underground medicine. . .

Yeah...something like that indeed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Notes Towards A Blaise Cendrars Project 1

The man, the myth, and the man-made man-myth.

As I bit by bit add skeleton, flimsy as it may be to an experimental novel I'm working on, I have to occasionally slip back into hopefully shorter projects and feel like I might complete them.

Like short stories I suppose. Or short blog posts. Or letters. Or impassioned emails. As if writing is something that demands quotas. Sometimes that's how it is though. You need to keep in practice. You need to count your words.

But for now, I'll stick to a lyrical essay I'm working on about the effects and resonance of Blaise Cendrars on my youthful, wholly naive imagination (then AND now.) I find it best to work on this by just spewing out my impressions which are many and varied and dovetail with my own mishaps and misadventures.

Starting when I was, oh about my late teens well into the present, Cendrars has been something of an "exemplary example."

Now I tell myself, the overarching reason that I must learn French is to read Cendrars in the original. (And Tournier, and Perec, and Rimbaud, and Apollinaire, and Baudelaire, and Flaubert. . .ad infinitum.)

In the meantime, I have combed high and low these many years to acquire all of his works that are in English translations, many of which are considerably rarer than the originals. Searching for these books has led me on many circuitous goose chases and I can't now remember how I first acquired my first Cendrars book but I suspect it was by accident after I heard his name mentioned by Henry Miller. I have reason to believe however that the first book I had was a copy of his magnificent, sprawling and multi-layered autobiographical novel Sky.

(I remember that for a while the other book in his autobiographical series, The Astonished Man, was as rare and hard to come by as anything on the Internet.)

Cendrars, the intrepid, one-armed seaman.

But Sky, the book is so like a season that catches in my mind and had everything to do with being an idiotic young man in moth-eaten clothes, of attending cognac vigils on starlit balconies and high night meadows during meteor showers and walking past weirdly angular buildings arm in arm with a girl with a certain Peter Pan look on her face and having every day feel like spring with petals falling and few obligations except Galousies and books and dreams. . .

. . .it's a book utterly devoted to its title, whether it deals with his son being killed in the sky during World War 2, or the often admittedly tedious history of levitating saints, or his descent into the pitch-black depths of the South American jungle to talk about mysterious constellations and odd light-sucking patches in the evening sky and old, noble recluses in love with Sarah Bernhardt.

Cendrars' captivating romanticism is paradoxically yet nobly infused with an ascetic's sense of the void, a mystic's grasp of absolute non-doing and non-being and while at the same time, always being reverential of life, Cendrars at the drop of a hat can, as he likes to say, "sever all ties and retire from the world", shutting himself away in some impromptu hermitage with his books and cigarettes and old reels of film.

His insomnia. His day dreams. His books that he will never write.

What amazed me from the first time I read him was how adroitly and effortlessly, like no one before him or since, he forges a rough marriage in words between high involvement and seclusion, adventure and bookishness, the grinding life of the daily man and the florid life of the day-dreaming artist, and, most importantly between the facts of a man's life and the truths of a man's life.

His Modernism is both machinic and spiritual and is all about the essential tension of consciousness that can allow us to be both monad and cosmos all at once. His vision of the Modern is a place where near and far collapse, and another zone, more sidereal, at the Antipodes as he likes to call it where consciousness itself transcends terrestrial coordinates. . .

Really? I'm not sure yet. I'm working on it.

He, more than anyone, if only with unacknowledged, stellar influence, seems to have predicted our own era of "the false memoir", the "fictive autobiography" and the "libellous true story."

Which, not surprisingly, is the "false genre" I'm working in now with my first novel. . .

So Cendrars' stellar influence is as strong and radiant as ever. . .and my nights are longer again as I remember his nights that he brought to life to me as an unworldly, utterly bookish boy, my head in the mists of an interior sky, my hands soft and puny from handling nothing but soft pages all day and dealing with only the pettiest of juvenile indiscretions.

Night as seen and breathed in South American jungles, aboard ships, on top of cliffs as he is about to drive his Alfa Romeo down to a deeply nestled fishing village where he will be greeted like a troubadour with a hearty stew and red wine and the kind of conversations that old travelers inns used to teem with.

And Cendars the fervent mariner and explorer and solitary man of the night writes the most lyrically of the nocturnal, and the blank, and the black beyond black spaces. . .night and solitude and cigarettes and books and adventure: these are his mainstays.

In my next post perhaps I will include a photo of this stack of 12 or 13 books that I own, or that own me, if for no other reason than photos are good ways to break up the text. . .

A "simultaneous" poem by Cendrars, illustrated by Sonia Delaunay.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Sheltering Sky: Briefly

Been reading Paul Bowles' The Sheltering Sky, and about half way through it, while combating rain and long holiday shifts at the store and other blog devotions and cooking and being broke devotions. And there are myriad end of the year lists out there to comb over for books I haven't read and need to if I want to know what my peers are doing.

(Look for me at The Rumpus tomorrow as I'm filling in for Seth Fischer. (He's busy graduating!)

As with his stories, Bowles has this way about him of economical straight-shooting mixed with lyrical, intensely tangible flights of language. He is a place maker and with him even the psyche is more landscape than anything else. Like a cluster of stones in the chests. Canyons that open up in the blood.

His whole written output was the most carefully thought-out tight-rope walk. And his psychological probings are complex and ardently, intricately described. In this case, three people enter into a land that is not like their own and the foreignness of their experience only magnifies their original foreignness to each other. The hyper-magnification of both keeps escalating until you feel, as I do at the book's midway point, that the worst possible thing is going to happen to them. To all of them.

And I'm dropping from fatigue right now, as is Katy getting adjusted to her new bakery work which thrives on pre-dawn labor -- but I'm in the cross hairs of some creative essays on the idea of travel and journey and not-going places and making life a map that combines landscapes with memories and falsehoods.

I need to expand on all that. And I shall. For now, I rest weary legs in a heated room.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Introducing Centipede Press

I've discovered an exciting new press that republishes out-of-print horror, crime and sci-fi classics.

It's called Centipede Press. Well worth checking out, also because the art-work is exceptional too.

Here's a couple of their titles that we just got in at our store: Some Of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon and Here Comes A Candle by Fredric Brown.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving, Dogs, Blessings, Books

The mighty, heroic, holiday-fatigued Luigi!

Thanksgiving came and went with dogs and food and champaigne. Inexplicably, it's now early December and tonight is my work party.

There is one particularly heroic bulldog (see above) who, Katy and I agreed is basically the Henry Miller of canines with his unfettered zest for life, no matter what holds him back. To aspire to the rough and tumble optimism of the bulldog. . .

I've been reading Miranda July and trying to start The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles. But instead, feeling particularly forlorn a few weeks back I started a desultory re-reading of the radical text, The Revolution Of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem that meant so much to me as a naive college student.

I also remembered that I never really finished it because, at the time, the life-changing demands it asked of me were overwhelming to ponder. It wasn't just what he advocates but it is also the fiery and poetic way that he slays every taken-for-granted concept, icon and tendency in our Western Culture.

Not to say I'm any more prepared to accept his words but at least I'm more sufficiently disabused of some pretty dopey notions.

Actually what sparked the re-reading was the very recent interview with Vaneigem that was trenchant, lyrical and unrelentingly idealistic. There is lot to that interview and I'm thinking about writing more about it.

I've been trying to force myself into a routine that's hard for me. Probably hard for most: switching between projects, maintaining individual focus for each. The early darkness and the California cold (relative to the rest of the country) has made it easier to stay home and focus and force the blossom of inventiveness under a spell of domestic tranquility.

On my days off there is nothing better than a quick, hot shower and putting the coffee to boil and french-pressing it and making toast and oatmeal in our large, multi-nooked sunny kitchen which, with its big herb-garden window overlooking a wind-swept garden down below, bears the resemblance to the prow of a glass air ship. I spend hours there with my notebook, my computer until I get antsy and then it's time for a revitalizing walk.

But the challenge is working on short stories, editing, honing and re-drafting them and then going back pell-mell into my ongoing memoir-novel which is about a hundred, sloppy pages. The challenge is to embrace the quotidian pleasures to create marvelous adventures. In this, I'm very blessed.

Food, shelter, love, family, friends, inspiration, livelihood: these I have and I give endless thanks. Or at least I try to. I hope my writing conveys it.

Last night I spent several hours on Duotrope navigating all the literary magazines out there and submitting a much-edited, highly-mutated short story of mine about Oakland to three of them. But what intrigued me was the variety of genres out there, sub-genres, literary fetishes, weird things. There is possibility, that much I realized.

Meanwhile, the unread books keeps growing and I suffer reader's panic. Alternating with writer's panic. And so I eat and read the news. We've been eating so many pungent, warming feasts that we've made from a hodgepodge of recipes.

Vegetarian sheperd's pie. Homemade hot and sour soup. Lentil stew. Homemade chicken and noodle soup. Borscht. Homemade chicken tortilla soup.

All containing copious amounts of ginger and garlic, all of which help to combat the germs and sicknesses that seem so ubiquitous this winter.

Lastly, I have signed up for an Introductory Horticulture class.

Good day.