Tuesday, December 20

SantaCon, Life, Blah Blah

Been oh so busy.

SantaCon rocked, of course. Mad crazy chaos. Fantastic. (Why doesn't Minneapolis do this? Well, the cold... and the fact that no one is on the street to see it... humph.)

Team C.O.B.R.A. is gearing up. Idiotarod is not far away. If you want to be a part of the best shopping cart racing team in the history of sapce/time, contact me.

Transit strike. Needed to shop today. Grrrr. Whatever. Off to L.A. tomorrow. Yay.

Friday, December 9


Tomorrow. NYC (and elsewhere). Still time to go get a suit (try Halloween Adventure on 4th Ave. and 12th St.) and come out. As to where it is starting... well, that's still a secret.

So here is my suit this year. Nice stencil of the Team C.O.B.R.A. logo on the back.

I have never lasted the whole thing, but this year I am in for the long haul, damn it. No wimping out for me.

Meanwhile, I have started editing the book. Some things to struggle with, most are pretty small (a lot of punching up). I have also started the second book. Not nearly as clear, but a more ambitous. Great combo, I know. Taking my time this time, but I want 50 solid pages by the end of Feb..

Tuesday, December 6

Oh, yeah. I remember this.

SantaCon NYC is Saturday the 10th. Don't know where yet. Still have to get my suit.

So much to do, so little time.

Learning things about myself everyday. Things maybe I knew and had forgotten. I'm not sure. Ideas that I once had seemed to have dissolved in a series of compromises I made. Not to anyone else, but to myself.

The difference between clarity and delusion can be ephemeral, can't it?

My mind once worked this way. I remember it. My body once worked like this way. I remember it. My heart once worked this way. I remember it.

But back then, I didn't know who I was and it all enveloped me, supplanted me, leaving nothing in its wake. And then I was drowning.

Years have past since then. I thought those pre-drowning days were... an aberration. Or youthful delusion. It was not 'rational' to have that sort of passion for words, for creation, for hearts, for touch.

Have I gone so many years not understanding what the word 'passion' means?

Things feel solid now. They push back at me in ways they never have before. I have stopped worrying all the time about intruding on others. I have stopped worrying about losing what I hold dear.

It is all very silly, I realize. I know it can all be taken away with a strong breeze. But that doesn't seem to matter all that much. Because I feel like I have control for once. Maybe the first time ever.

Humph. Should have learned all this years ago. But they say 34 is the new 24. I'm not sure who said it, but I bet they were 33.

Wednesday, November 30

Lonesome Jack

Saw them at Sin-é last night. Good cover of "Sunny Side of the Street." I think I scared Bethany with a tiny birthday gift. I just can't go to a party without a gift. I would have brought a Monopoly "Get Out of Jail Free" for the banjo player (whose name I can't remember) if I had known.

It was a good gift for me, their show and music.

I was sleepy and I am looking forward to the day they have a weelend show at a decent hour at the decent venue so that I can dance.

Tuesday, November 29

28 Days Later

97,494 words.
29 Chapters.
256 pages in Time Roman, 12 point, 1.5 spaced.
349 pages in Courier.

Deaths: More than I thought there would be, but less than there could.
Sex scenes: Almost 1.
My favorite charcter: Dave
My favorite scene: I really like the last one. It's sweet.
Most surprising scene to me: Allen and Dave after Thanksgiving.
Words I think I over use: turned, spun, nodded, bit, and slightly.
Why do I use them: The first two are dramatic. The last three are some moments.
Hardest scene to write, intellectually: The shopping cart race or The Met. Toss up.
Hardest scene to write, emotionally: Easy, Chapter 16. The whole thing.

Lost hours of sleep: Eh. Who cares?

The last chapter took long than I thought it would. When I thought I only had five pages left, it turned into 10. Maybe I didn't want to give it up. But I also wanted them to resolve things. Allen and Dave had some things to work though. Still do.

It's not high art, but I think it's fun. A good yarn, as they say.

Now, of course, I can't sleep.

But that's okay. You wanna know why?

Because I wrote a novel and I like it.

Saturday, November 26


I really like brunch. That's all I have to say today.

Thursday, November 24

Thank you

Just a shout out.

Thank you Liz and Erin. Thank you, Jake. And you too Allen.
Thank you, mom and dad. Kim and Kevin and your children.
Another thank you Kim for reading.
A thank you to B-Star and Lonesome Jack and live music in general.
Thank Chris B. and the NaNo staff.
Thank you Brooklyn and New York regions and my MLs.
Thank you, Mayhem. I miss you.
Thank you, Emily.
Thank you, Tracy S. and Tony for the invite tonight and the amazing desk.
Thank you Al Gore for inventing the internet and Hot Pockets (he invented Hot Pockets right?).
Thank you to everyone who has reached out to me.
Thank you to The Trolls. Man, you cats be crazy.
Thank you Team C.O.B.R.A. Victory shall be ours.
Thank you to all the new people I've met during the last year, especially the last four months.
Thank you, America for maybe opening your eyes. It's not too late.
Thank you, Dave, Peter, Frank and Warren. Oh, and Jessica.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 23

Skipping Ahead

I jumped forward last night. I had some inspiration about the last two chapters (28: The Stupid Gesture & 29: A Departure and Then Arrival). It's darn nice the have my ending.

Now there are only 7 chapters left. 7 chapters, 8 days. Well, 7 days, cause I really want to have it done on the 29th. By 7pm. So that kind of messes up that day, so call it 6 days. But Thanksgiving weekend is in there. But I am going out Thanksgiving night and I get the most done after 6pm or in the early morning. But I don't think I'll be going out Friday or Saturday.

Went to B-Star last night. Good times. I getthe feeling that I am becoming their official 'Yeller/Hooter' and that creeps me out a touch. Ah well.

Monday, November 21


Tuesday, November 22nd, 10:00 pm
At Trash Bar
256 Grand St. between Driggs and Roebling in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
$5 cover, open bar between 9:00 and 10:00.
They’ll be on vacation for a while after that, so don’t miss you last chance to rock out with them in 2005.

That's all I have to say about that.

This I Believe

Penn Jillette wrote the following for NPR's "This I Believe" series. Now, I am not an athiest, but this comes closest to how I actually see the world (except that I am unable to take the leap of faith to say 'there is no Other'):

I believe that there is no God. I'm beyond Atheism. Atheism is not believing in God. Not believing in God is easy -- you can't prove a negative, so there's no work to do. You can't prove that there isn't an elephant inside the trunk of my car. You sure? How about now? Maybe he was just hiding before. Check again. Did I mention that my personal heartfelt definition of the word "elephant" includes mystery, order, goodness, love and a spare tire?

So, anyone with a love for truth outside of herself has to start with no belief in God and then look for evidence of God. She needs to search for some objective evidence of a supernatural power. All the people I write e-mails to often are still stuck at this searching stage. The Atheism part is easy.

But, this "This I Believe" thing seems to demand something more personal, some leap of faith that helps one see life's big picture, some rules to live by. So, I'm saying, "This I believe: I believe there is no God."

Having taken that step, it informs every moment of my life. I'm not greedy. I have love, blue skies, rainbows and Hallmark cards, and that has to be enough. It has to be enough, but it's everything in the world and everything in the world is plenty for me. It seems just rude to beg the invisible for more. Just the love of my family that raised me and the family I'm raising now is enough that I don't need heaven. I won the huge genetic lottery and I get joy every day.

Believing there's no God means I can't really be forgiven except by kindness and faulty memories. That's good; it makes me want to be more thoughtful. I have to try to treat people right the first time around.

Believing there's no God stops me from being solipsistic. I can read ideas from all different people from all different cultures. Without God, we can agree on reality, and I can keep learning where I'm wrong. We can all keep adjusting, so we can really communicate. I don't travel in circles where people say, "I have faith, I believe this in my heart and nothing you can say or do can shake my faith." That's just a long-winded religious way to say, "shut up," or another two words that the FCC likes less. But all obscenity is less insulting than, "How I was brought up and my imaginary friend means more to me than anything you can ever say or do." So, believing there is no God lets me be proven wrong and that's always fun. It means I'm learning something.

Believing there is no God means the suffering I've seen in my family, and indeed all the suffering in the world, isn't caused by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent force that isn't bothered to help or is just testing us, but rather something we all may be able to help others with in the future. No God means the possibility of less suffering in the future.

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have.

Now, this all kind of contradicts something I was telling someone last night, which I'm going to go into, but it still reflects much of my feelings.

Goodnight, Blackbird

On Sunday I heard that you died. Heroin overdose. A year and a half ago.

I'm not sure what I want to say to you. You were a spirit, burning bright and dark, but that sounds trite. You were passionate and strange and had a wicked smile. I knew then there was a quiet desperation in all that you did. I'm not surprised you died, the way you did. It was many years since we touched. I want to say since we "made love," but were never that close. We had sex, and it was fantastic, but not 'love making." You shot into my life and then you were gone, traveling the world.

I knew that you were on that path, so the news of your death didn't come was a surprise. But...I wonder what your life was after you left my bed. You never looked back and I never tried to find you. And, now, third hand new comes that you are dead.

All I can do is wish you goodnight now, Blackbird. The world is less now that you are gone and so am I.

Saturday, November 19

Conversations with Death

My book has become something I didn't intend. In a good way, but it is surprising me. I just stared with what I though was a wacky concept. Even at then, I thought it was about humor. But I guess I have been thinking a lot about loss lately, and how loss changes you. How the ripples of loss extend outward, affecting everything and leaveing you weak in its wake.

The book isn't about rebuilding. Its about rediscoverey when the floor drops out.

Tonight I wrote my Mayhem chapter. Now it is 5 a.m. and I am out the other side. I was able to talk to Death during those moments, to ask for help with something I didn't want to do, something I still dream about, and listened as Death told me only I could do it. I could look Death in the face and see his blank expression.

I haven't cried in a month. I thought it was all out, but I knew that this chapter might bring it back, and it did. Having relived it, even if only through my main character, I now get to be angry. There next four chapters should be short and are about looking for answers, demanding answers.

But for tonight I am wiped. I am drained.

Peace, Mayhem. Peace.

Friday, November 18

Random Acts of Kindness

Elsewhere, I was challenged to write a the worst sex scene I could (not the worst sex, but the worst writing). I dare not post it all here but here's a taste:

He lifts her chin and locks eyes. Her breath holds still in anticipation. Their lips meet, mouths quickly parting, tongues suddenly darting like serpentine F-16s dogfighting over Iraq. Their passion is immediate and on fire, a Paris riot, a Detroit Pistons victory.

His one hand holds the back of her neck, fingers digging into her hair. The other hand slips up the back of her blouse, working up the spine. She shifts, rolling her body on top of his, pressing hard like a Kopple interview. As she grinds down, he can feel his pants already straining like Pakistan straining to survive after an earthquake, like Nicole Riche straining for respectability by writing a novel.

Their hands are are seeking and searching like Special Forces looking for Osama in the hills of Afghanistan. Their hands desperately want to expose flesh like Scooter Libby wanting to expose Valerie Plame. Their bodies are a very special episode of E.R. guest starring John Stamos. He rolls her onto her back. She arches up into him, rising like gas prices in a hurricane, and he cups her large bosom, firm as G.W.'s war on terror. Their excitement spreads through their bodies like an avian bird flu pandemic through Asia.

You get the idea. Well, I posted it over in the Erotic Fiction section of the NaNo forums (those forums are a very interesting read by the way). Just because I was proud of how bad it was. Anyway, some on saw it and was amuse and looked at my profile and read the opening excerpt of my story. She liked it and read it to her husband on the phone, and he liked it too. So she dropped me a message saying so.

It was just so...nice. And encouraging. I've been a bit down this evening. I am in the "Mayhem Chapter," rapidly approaching the moment I don't want to write. And so need to. As far as stealing from my own life, it is the one that is closest. My friend Cara will be replaced with Dave and say very different things, but this is the moment my main character and I will become one.

I have a bottle of wine ready.

Anyway, just a thanks to "Rochelle from Minnesota." You made my night.

Wednesday, November 16

50,000 in 16 days and only halfway there

Not much to say beyond the title.

I am proud but I still have so far to go. Now that one goal is done, the larger goal is daunting. Grin and bare it and make another pot of coffee.

Monday, November 14


I have been incredibly self-centered for the last two weeks.

I have been in my own head and the heads of so many others. I've been focused on my journey and my main character's journey. I've been watching us both change. I've been proding us both: me to write, him to go in the direction so I can get to those final three lines I wrote on the 1st of November.

I've been living in a split Brooklyn and New York. One I walk through, grabbing and stealing, sticking people and things and places and sounds and smells in my pocket to use at night. The other Brooklyn is ephemera and chopped up, but when I turn my eye to one street or one bar or one room, it glows with clarity. (The second Brooklyn is also split in ways that only I understand and will have to explain in chapter 14: A Door, A Jar.)

I spent two days in the desert. I spent two days in Las Vegas. I swallowed sand and talked to rabbits. I watched the fires rage in the rearview mirror. I ran from a pit boss dressed as Jesus. I had a great meal and watched a comedy legend, who never existed, have a stroke on stage and collapse.

When I talk to someone, part of my brain is dissecting their words, editing on the fly for the greatest impact. A voice in me says, "If she had told you she had a twin right then...Wow, what a metaphor that would have been!" I take their phrases and hide them away, just for me.

I get moody and sad when I don't know where to go next. I wander the house, room to room, muttering and angry. "What is it about?" I say. "Why are they there, doing what they are doing? It seemed so cute, four days ago, when I planned it. Now it doesn't mean anything at all. It's just stuff." But then I dig deep and find that one thing it was missing, the important thing that ties it back. In Las Vegas it was Buggy Lepsheck. At the Met it was Amy appearing at Allen's side to ask him how he has been. Somehow I had planted the seed for her return in chapter 2, without knowing, and it makes perfect sense.

I swell with irrational ego whenever I get over any hump. I crash if I stall on a single word too long.

I don't eat when I am moving, but when I stop I cook elaborate meals. My dirty dishes are in inverse proportion to the amount I am writing.

Sometimes I drink when my main character drinks. I think he may be a lush if not worse. I try not to walk past mirrors.

I wish I could give him a lover but I can't. Not yet. It's not about that and never has been. But he could use it.

I try not to walk by mirrors.

I have passed the halfway mark, I think. Or at least solidly into Act 2. I am itching to get to the 3rd Act. But I can't rush it. It has to take its own time. But as soon as Allen tells Dave, "I want you to leave," and Dave says, "I can't. We have an agreement," that's when the fun begins.

I see the movie. I see the opening credits and the closing credits and I can't see what is actually in front of me.

I have been incredibly self-centered for the last two weeks.

Sunday, November 13

Las Vegas finally in rearview mirror

Got them out Las Vegas. As always, each chapter, even the one's I had planned to be larks, have turned turned out to be full of stuff that needs to be said. But I have yet again come out the other side with happier with the chapter and with a new found respect for the characters (okay, Allen lost a lot of respect in chapters 6 (A Game of One) and 7 (A Revelation)). And in the end Vegas was fun to write.

Anthony the pit boss & Dave in Aussie mode.
Frank & Wine
Buggy Lepsheck
And Dave...oh, Dave. I don't know were you came from, but for someone without a hook (well, one hook), you have become such a joy to write. And the genuine care you have for Allen warms me. I didn't expect that.

Well, we're all back in Brooklyn and now need to get long with the plot. Have to write some romance now. A bit "You've Got Mail" / "Somekind of Wonderful" action. No 'suck' in this chapter. All is good.

Then I will finally get to The Met (which I have to keep under control). Then there's a chapter I real am not sure what I am going to do with, but will hopefully be spooky and weird. And then...and then the Mayhem chapter. I'll be drinking some scotch writing that one.

Speaking of drinking...there is a lot of drinking in this book. A lot. It fit the characters and it should pay off, metaphorically, in the end. But, man! I sound like a lush. Really, these people can't go three pages without drinking something.

Favorite image that came out of nowhere in Vegas:
I slid my glass across the table and watched as it stopped right at the edge, half on and half off, balanced. “I think I need another scotch.”

NaNo Count: 39244

Lonesome Jack

Still adore them. Bummer of a show.. just bit.

They were good but cut way short by idiotic scheduling by the Pussycat Lounge. Curses! But they played "Have Space Suit, Will Travel" so I was a happy camper.

I will give credit to the charming bartenders at the Pussycat Lounge. Thumbs up.

Lonesome Jack will be playing at Sin-e on Nov. 29th (150 Attorney St. between E, Houston & Stanton) at 7:30. $8.

Fingers crossed that I'll be done with the book by then. Also, it will apparently be Bethany's B-day so bring her a tiny gift.

Saturday, November 12

Drunkin' Post #1

Let's see how this goes. I am many G n' Ts and countless PBRs in, so I have no idea if this will make any sense.

B-Star. Man, have they ever gotten better! The first 3rd of the show was plagued by bad sound. Michi's violin (fiddle, whatever) kept goin' in and out and Sleuth's turntables weren't going through at all. But once it all kicked in? Damn! As a band they just drive me forward, get me off my ass and jumpin'! Now that the socialist thing has been pushed back a bit, they're just frickin' fun. Nothin' wrong with socialism... it just does'tt say "dance." It's how I felt at ska shows in the late 80's / early 90's.

Good crowd. Go listen to "How I Could Just Kill A Man" on their website (see Link-A-Dinks). Tell me that is not the shiznit.

What's a shiznit? I don't know, but B-Star is it.

So, anywhozits, I am off to try my hand at a bit of drunken novel writing. We'll see how it goes. Characters still knockin' Vegas, so it should fit.

Love ya all,
Six Sider

Friday, November 11

Okay, I'm not a shut-in

I get out. I really do.

Had a very nice date on Wednesday.

And tonight, B-Star at Hanks Saloon on Atlantic in Brooklyn! Country! Hip-Hop! Cheap beer! Friends! Free home-made cookies!

And tomorrow Lonesome Jack plays the Pussy Cat Lounge at midnight. If The Pogues and early Greenday had a love child that was raised by early Might Might Bosstones and They Might Be Giants in rural Kentucky...Lonesome Jack is his cousin.

My two current favorite bands, back to back. Can't hate that.

Brooklyn, Burning Man, Las Vegas and Back Again

The novel plugs on. WriMos talk of the second week slump. The first week you are excited and happy and thrilled. Week two hits like a wall when you realize how far you have to go. The lack of sleep starts to creep up on you. All the things you put of the first week (cleaning, shopping, etc.) suddenly start to loom larger. Coffee starts to taste funny.

I can't say that has been the case with me. I am well ahead on word count (if slightly behind on schedule to get the novel to it's final chapter by the 30th). Yeah, the house is dusty and I need to do laundry, but I've been there for a lot worse reasons.

But I did hit a wall, but on I knew was coming since day one. The main character as had his life change dramatically in chapter 7 & 8. To help with the transition (both for him and me), I send the five main characters on a road trip. Seemed like a good idea when I was doing the outline.

But getting them from Brooklyn to Burning Man in any concise way while still being interesting was a chore of tight structure. Then Burning Man had to be just as concise but a totally different tone and feel. And I've never been there. I've heard about it, read about it, viewed countless photos. But it is not the sort of event I should be writing about without having experienced it. If I had only known, I would have gone this September. But no one was kind enough to tell me that I'd be writing a novel with one chapter set there. Damn you all!

Anyway, I got through that. Totally switched up my writing style (even my punctuation and how I handle dialogue). I'm quite happy with it. It's light and surreal, full of import and signs. It is what it needed.

Then they took off for Vegas, for a chapter of wacky adventure and for me to ease back into normality. And now Vegas is kicking my ass. I think I'm struggling with writing from four year old memory and wanting to be funnier than I am right now and needing to get my main character back being active instead of just reacting or just observing, as he has for these last two chapters.

Get on with your life, MC! Get on with the story, Chris!

Sidenote: I have just fallen guiltily love... with FreshDirect. Shut-in status here I come!

Too many threads

Okay, I'll admit it. I have become a full fledged internet addict.

I suppose that was obvious when I started a blog. But I sat down this morning and tried to quickly hit all my big sites and such before getting in at least a page on the novel. I'm sure everyone has this realization at some point.

I hit Google News for my USA Today version of the news. I hit Fark. I hit AICN. I hit Gizmodo. I hit my forums. There NaNo, there's good ol' B.net to see if I've been blacklisted again. There's the Lost forum. I hit 3 sepeate NYC art job listing sites. I have to view my hotmail account and my gmail account (both of which usually have me off to other sites.). I hit here and a few friend's blogs. I hit Friendster. I hit Nerve.


I was quite pleased with the 100 Words on Love Project I initiated on the Nerve Blogs. I will say MollyO. impressed me the most.

I really need more time. I am honestly at the edge of how many 'new' things I can juggle. I wish it weren't so. But I need things to settle before I dive any deeper. But there are so many cool things/people out there.

But I have hit the 2nd Week slump in NaNo. Not a slump but a grind. Writing about Burning Man drained me and now I have Las Vegas. I've been telling myself that it will get easier again when we get back to Brooklyn, but a tiny shred of doubt has slipped in. I have moved beyond the REVEAL and I realize that I can't just be 'witty' anymore. I have to be 'smart.' 'Smart' is so much harder than 'witty.'


NaNo count: 33,344

Monday, November 7

The Met, My Docent and Me

Today I had to get out of the house for a big chunk, so I headed over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to do some research. A beautiful day to be out in the City, but I still managed to make the worst of my timing. I arrived the 86th street subway station at the same time as hundreds of folks arrived there for the marathon.

This happens every year. I just somehow miss the fact that the marathon is coming. It just kind of appears out of nowhere. I suppose if I was a runner it would be different. I am amazed at people who run the marathon. Not the professionals, but one's who sign up in April just so they can say, "I ran the New York Marathon!" Those are some crazy kids.

I like the Met but I am usually annoyed by its coldness. It normally doesn't move me. But today I had a great time all by my lonesome! I had some very specific things I was looking (Temple of Denur, mainly) but then I started to look for things as "color" and I went crazy. It's nice when you know your characters so well that you know exactly what they will respond to. And it will all fit very nicely, thematically.

(I had a perfect surprise/inspiration in the Arms & Armor Hall. I walked in and it was an Oh, Wow! moment. If they made a movie of my story, it would be one of those perfect scenes where fiction and real world just cross.)

I did get frustrated in the Painting halls. I decided I wanted a painting with a specific mood and pretty specific content, but had a hard time finding what I wanted. So I hijacked a docent (is that a crime?) and dragged her around for half an hour. She actually got excited with the project and I felt very author-ish.

Eventually she knew exactly what I wanted, but it's not at the Met. It's not in New York as far as I know. But we (my docent and me... which is an interesting title) decided that the wood engraving could be in a traveling collection being displayed at the Met. At least in my story.

So not ALL of start aligned, but good enough for goldfish swallowing.

NaNo Word Count: 18,596

Saturday, November 5


Always the problem when you move to new dig: you never know what to take with you and you should just get new.

Seeing that at the start at least this blog shall be pretty much whatever is floating around Chris's head at the moment, som duplication from one blog to another is just one of those things.

So short form here:
I am writing a novel in one month. Nov 1st, 50,000 word by Dec 1st. Quantity over quality. It's an excesize thousands of people, all over the world are partaking in. It's good. It's fun. The forums on it are very enteratining. And hey it's still not too late to start!


This are still going swimmingly! One problem. Last night, I ended up figuring out exactly how many chapters I'll need. I even named them all!

Chapter 1: A Departure and Two Visitations
Chapter 2: The Agreement
Chapter 3: A Life Examined
Chapter 4: The Tiny Thing
Chapter 5: A Series of Awkward Moments
Chapter 6: The Revelation
Chapter 7: A Different Perspective (tentative)
Chapter 8: The Trip (tentative)
Chapter 9: A Random Coincidence
Chapter 10: The Body Part
Chapter 11: A History Lesson (tentative)
Chapter 12: The Door Ajar (tentative)
Chapter 13: A Day of the Dead
Chapter 14: The Red Passage (tentative)
Chapter 15: A Black Meal (tentative)
Chapter 16: The White Bed (tentative)
Chapter 17: A Pale Caller (tentative)
Chapter 18: The Straw (tentative)
Chapter 19: A Deal Unbreakable (tentative)
Chapter 20: The Long Silence (tentative)
Chapter 21: A Gathering (tentative)
Chapter 22: The Plan Unending (tentative)
Chapter 23: A Search for Answers (tentative)
Chapter 24: The Race (tentative)
Chapter 25: A Final Judgment (tentative)
Chapter 26: The Departure and Two Visitations

Now, the problem is that I finished chapter 4 tonight. So I've been doing about a chapter a day. I am also at 14,500 words or so words. So I am averaging 3625 a chapter and a day... I am don thing I am going to be able to keep up that pace. My chapter outline gives me four day wiggle room if the goal is to get to the end of the story. But that also ends up being a 94,250 word novel, significantly over the 50,000 goal.

So I am torn. But it's a great thing to be torn about.

Friday, November 4


I loved my kitty Mayhem. In the future I shall tell the long tale of his short life, but for now I am just posting his photo.


So this makes me on of those people who posts pictures of their cats in their blog. Sue me.

The Perfect Crush

There is something so perfect about summer camp love. My perfect crush came late as far as summer camp experiences go.

In the summer between my junior and senior year of high school, I went to the California State Summer School of the Arts ( CSSSA ). You actually had audition for it. I was in the acting program, but there were artists of all stripes. Musicians, painters, sculptures, film makers, dancers. Three hundred arty high schoolers jammed onto the Loyola Marymount campus. Just asking for trouble.

That summer was magical. I remember having to meet with the dean of the program because a bunch of us had snuck out at 3 in the morning and took all the outdoor furniture at the cafeteria and built a (temporary) sculpture in the fountain. Glorious thing, 15 feet high. At first the dean was mad at us, very stern about curfews and such. But then she relented because the project "had merit." How awesome was that!

But Amy was the biggest thing. The first night there we met and both of us were instantly breathless. Amy of the dazzling eyes and infectious laugh. Amy of the strange doodles and rambling stories. Amy of the bare feet and summer dresses. For four days we danced around the idea, trying to see where we stood and spending every minute we could near each other.

There is something about summer camp, and a lesser extent college, that can create 'history' instantly. You develop inside jokes and moments in such a quick and intense way. Before we were officially an item, we already had nicknames around the camp: Scooter & Granola. With colored Sharpies, we made t-shirts with our new names. That was the fifth day of camp and that night we kissed. Literally in a tree. He had climbed up into the foliage and there, in our private world ,I had a kiss that I shall remember every single second of for the rest of my life. Soft and sweet but absolutely electric.

Just now, remembering, I get shivers up and down my spine.

But summer camp is summer camp. Amy and I only had the slightest sliver over two weeks as a 'couple.' Summer camp ends as I suppose all things to. And then she returned to San Fran and I stayed in L.A.. She was in town one more day that summer, but it was a fleeting meet as she was just passing through. A month had passed and suddenly camp seemed eons in the past.

We sent letters to each other a few times the next year. Then I went to the east coast for college and she went to Cal Arts. She sent me a mix tape my first week. I played it all through college but now it is long gone. I can barely remember any of the songs on it.

And then she sort of disappeared. Years later, someone I knew in L.A. said he had run into her. Her life had been hard and horrible and she had been in a rough shape. And then nothing again.

I google her every once and a while but nothing comes up. She just kind of slipped away.

Friday, September 16

Why 'Twang'

New things. New ideas. New pair of Chucks.

I've recently discovered that if you throw things into the wind things come back. So here I am throwing my oranges into the desert from the window of my car.

Most of the people who step in here first will know the title and why it sticks with me. But here is a bit of the history:

Science Fiction author, genius, cat-lover and crazy-person Philip K. Dick wrote a novel called Valis that dealt very directly with the 'divine invasions' he experienced. It explores the nature of perception and reality and madness. Early, there is this:
"That's when Fat began to go nuts. At the time he didn't know it, but he had been drawn into an unspeakable psychological game. There was no way out. Gloria Knudson had wrecked him, her friend, along with her own brain. Probably she had wrecked six or seven other people, all friends who loved her, along the way, with similar phone conversations. She had undoubtedly destroyed her mother and father as well. Fat heard in her rational tone the harp of nihilism, the twang of the void. He was not dealing with a person; he had a reflex-arc thing at the other end of the phone line."

Up beat, huh?

The phrase "twang of the void" has lingered with me for years and I constantly adopted it for my little "projects."

Special shout out goes to Lily T., Matt S. and Allan K. for the short screenplay under that title. I almost went with What I Did on My Summer Vacation as the title here but it would only make sense to the four of us. Still cracks me up when I picture that title card though.

For me, that twang is something that I know is out there and so want to avoid. But it has also become changed in my mind. It is the scream in the darkness that assures you that you ARE here. The key is that as long as there is a 'twang,' there is no 'void.'

So let's all laugh.