Friday, August 28, 2009


The damage (permanent damage) I had inflicted on the poor bath-room what a God awful mess, pieces of glass here and there mixed in with a bric-a-brac randomness of cosmetic supplies, doodads, thing-of-a bobs and doohickeys. A roll of toilet paper has somehow had managed to come unspooled and it looked as if someone had tried to do a mini-Christos piece or an over enthusiastic Egyptologist decided to mummify our can. But, all the crap could easily be swept up. Wetness felt heavy against my face. I remembered the shard of glass that had sliced into me. I gingerly touched my cheek, the gash was deep. I reached down and quickly wrapped some of the toilet paper around my hand in a big mass and pressed it against my cheek. My wife stood on her tip toes to try to see how bad my injury was underneath my hand. I tried to verbally redirect her from my face, "Its fixable." I said. Pixie nodded. "Even the gouges in the walls are possible to putty over, sand down and paint again. I'm not overly concerned Pix."

"What the hell happened J?"

"I have no idea, Babe. Walking by the bathroom I heard a dripping sound. I went in to check it out and...And well, you know the rest, here we are."

My wife leaned over the threshold of the bathroom to take a quick peak. She clucked her tongue that at any other time might have irritated me, but this time I took a small sense of well being from the sound as if were a kind mantra back to what passed as normality.

"When you were in the middle of your fit or what have you, your eyes were rolling around in your head and bouncing left to right."

"Really," her revelation sent a chill through me, a chill of recognition of something not quite familiar and not quite alien; something that I should have remembered and not the disjointed recollection and blankness between words that I was experiencing. Blood seeped through the toilet paper into my hand. This was no shaving cut that I could staunch with tiny pieces of paper. I balled up some more paper and held it against the blood saturated deteriorating paper trying to add to its effectiveness.

"Yeah, remember that TV show when we we're kids about the talking car?"

"My Mother the Car," I asked.

"No, that other one, the one where the car had a red light sensor thing that moved back and forth on its front.”

"You mean on the grill," I stated more than asked. She nodded vigorously. "Knight Rider, the show was Knight Rider." I told her.

"That's the one, that's the one," I found her excited response to be contagious.

"Your eyes reminded me of that show traveling back and forth like that car's red sensor thing, almost as if you were reading something." She reached up and removed my hand from my face. "Shit J, I can see your cheekbone. Here." Barefoot, she had picked her away among the minefield of debris that covered are bathroom floor.

"Be careful," I yelled to her.

"Don't say that, you'll jinx me." She replied and somehow, somewhere found a clean wash cloth, antibiotic ointment and peroxide. She picked her way back to the safety of the carpeted hallway. "You're definitely going to need stitches or staples or something. Let's clean you up in the bedroom bathroom first, I think..." She stopped talking and walking all at once. "You're right J, the crap on the floor won't be difficult to clean, but there is blood everywhere; the floor, ceiling, the tile, tub, sink...I mean everywhere. We may have to hire professional cleaners." She had another look, took my offered hand, switched off the light and locked the door behind her.

In our bathroom it seemed brighter than usual. "I don't feel so good Pix."

"You lost a lot of blood, babe, of course you don't feel well." She bent my face over the sink; removed my half-assed makeshift bandage and poured peroxide into my wound, it fucking hurt.
"Fuck me!" I bellowed.

"Hold still and don't be such a baby. She peered at my face closer. "J, I think there is still some glass in your cheek. We're going to the emergency room now."

"Just dress it here."

"Like hell, every time you talk or move you start bleeding out pretty good again. We're going, and that's final." I'll call Marta and Cole and ask them to pick up the kids after swim practice, they won't mind."

"Yeah, okay," I replied only half listening. My head was swooning. "I'll drive." I said.

"Like hell," She said again. "J, I think it's the same side of your face that has that other scar, but can't tell because of all the blood."

"What other scar?" I asked.


I don't remember much about the ride into the hospital. I do remember Pixie telling me to hold the dressing tight against my face. She had placed gauze around the glass shrapnel and wouldn't let me pull it out. She told me that I needed to let the doctors remove it or I would lose even more blood. So I applied pressure with my hand while my fingers straddled around the glass. Whenever Pix hit a bump a sharp edge of shard bit into the web of my hand between my flip off digit and ring finger. The glass made a slight scraping sound almost imperceptible by pinging out tiny Morse code messages on my wedding band. I think I may have gone into semi-shock and drifted off into unconsciousness, when I opened my eyes again my wife and a PA or a doctor stood over me. The guy had to be too young to be a doctor, but he had already cultivated one of those, "I'm-the -doctor-and-you're-not" attitudes.

"There is evidence of former reconstructive surgery. Has you husband had facial injuries before?"

"None that he could recall, but he has had a scar on his cheek, barely noticeable, really, ever since I met him. He doesn't remember how he got it. Is he in a lot of pain?"

"The inner scar tissue is quite extensive. The former injury must have been traumatic. I gave him something for the pain. He'll be zoned out for a while. I'm not sure if there is any nerve damage, time will tell."

"Will there be a big scar Doctor?"

"Plastic surgery techniques are state of the art these days, evolving all the time. I'm sure the plastic surgeon can repair the recent damage very well. That shouldn't be a problem. The older injuries, I'm not so sure about, be sure to get all the details from the surgeon. We stapled off and stitched the bleeds. He shouldn't lose anymore blood. I am worried about the chance of infection, so I'm prescribing antibiotics just in case."
His youngness annoyed me, even though I faded in and out, I found him irritating. Even though I was snowed, I knew he was trying to impress my wife. He kept checking her out. She didn't seem to notice, but I noticed.

"There is one thing that I think should be investigated, Mrs. ,um..."

"Sally, just call me Sally."

His voice lowered into a slick conspiratorial whisper. If I wasn't doped up, I might have hit him. "Sally, I ordered a psychiatric consult just in case, his injury is self-inflicted."

Self inflicted? Are you fucking kidding me? I remember thinking to myself, Pompous ass, why didn't Pix hear the insincerity in his voice.

"You think he did it on purpose?"

"Past traumatic events can be easily blocked out by the mind. From the older scar tissue one can deduct that there has been earlier trauma." His voice dropped to another level that sounded slimy to me, worse than the psychobabble he fed my wife. "Don't concern yourself too much Sally. It is routine that we seek a psychiatrist when it comes to severe disfiguration of the face, to help the victim, er, patient deal with the shit."

Did that little asshole say shit? If he did, Pix didn't seem to be too concerned with his bedside manner, let alone his beside language.

"His face will be disfigured? I thought you said that he would be all right."

"I did, but sometimes, the patients react badly to the news of a facial injury and it is good to have a professional nearby just in case. Sally, would you like to get a cup of coffee?"

I knew it, that fucker! If I could just focus, I would show him facial disfigurement.

"I'm not thirsty doctor, but if you lock the door and draw the curtain I'll show you close up and personal what you've been undressing with your eyes for about the last ten minutes."

"Suddenly I don't want coffee either Sally."
This couldn't be happening, through the shadows of my eyelids and the fog in my mind, my wife took off her clothes as the dick-head doctor, locked the examining room door and pulled the curtain around them.

"Call me Pixie," she said, dropping onto her knees and unbuckling his pants."

"Pixie it is then."

"Can he see us?" She asked him as she took him in her mouth.

The doctor turned back and looked at me through the crack of the semi-closed curtain. He laughed, "I don't know, he's so drugged up…Yeah, probably."

"Good." My wife said; her mouth full. Acidic tears squirted from my eyes as I watched helpless.

"Very good," the doctor had mistaken my wife's statement as a question.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

In the news

This is messed up! But I seem to remember something like this happening before, coy dogs and once with feral cats that were released in NYC in the eighties to take care of the subway rat problems. Of course the cats did not kill humans but they were mean bastard. In the script for my graphic novel Covet, one of my characters is attacked by feral dogs.

Stuff I'm thinking about

Reaching up Toward the Fullness
Art Manifesting the Mythic
By C.S. Thompson

Some of the ancient Gnostic sects spoke of something called the Monad, the noumena from which all phenomena are derived, the unity behind all multiplicity and the Absolute behind all relativity. This Monad, being beyond relativity, could not be defined, for to define a thing is to set it apart, to say it is this and not that, which cannot be said of the Absolute. Unknowable and beyond definition, the Monad could not be said to create in any conscious sense, but the myriad phenomena of reality are its emanations and thus its creations. Like the physical universe exploding from a single point at the beginning of time, the Monad spontaneously gave birth to the Pleroma, a realm of immortal entities known as the Aeons. The Pleroma, in turn, gave birth to our world, a series of emanations from the Monad like ripples in a pond.

The word Pleroma means fullness, and corresponds to everything we mean by the word divine. As for the Aeons, they are "thoughts of God," aspects or modes of approach to the unity of the Monad. They are also "the gods." The Pleroma, in other words, is the realm of Myth, a transcendent although not-quite-ultimate realm beyond the realm of our world.

Where is this "Realm of Myth"? Is it in our minds? The philosopher Sallust defined myth as "That which never was, but always is." It is not, in other words, to be found in the world, in the sense of being bound or trapped by a particular moment in time and space. To reduce Myth down to time and space is the Fallacy of Fundamentalism, just as to dismiss it entirely is the Fallacy of Materialism. So if the realm of Myth is not bound by the physical world, not to be reached primarily through the physical world, then we must find it through the mind- through media such as dreams and imagination, visions and ecstasies. And the things we see in these dreams can be communicated through art, evoking their strange power in the waking world. Reaching up through our minds to the realm of Myth, we bring something of its magic back down with us and incarnate it in a work of art. The work of art then acts as a key, allowing those who can enter into its spirit to soar upward again to the realm of Myth. The Mythorealist artist is a mediator between these two realities, a "priest of the invisible" in the words of Wallace Stevens.

Is the realm of Myth only in the mind? It depends what you mean by that. The boundaries of any individual mind go gray at the edges, and the core elements of Myth seem to be universal. Just as the realm of the mind is a private world behind the realm of the external and physical, might the realm of Myth not be another level beyond that of the mind?

But let us confine ourselves to what is right in front of us. Whether or not the realm of Myth is defined by the mind, the purpose of magical art has always been the same- to access this realm and bring its power into the world. People have been sitting around campfires telling each other amazing stories since the Stone Age. Storytelling will always be popular because it taps into something primal in us- the place inside us from which myths are born. The part of us that believes in magic.

There is a special ingredient that sets what I think of as Mythorealist fiction apart, that marks it as a true representative of that ancient tradition of storytelling. I think of that special ingredient as mythic resonance. What is mythic resonance? The feeling that you're somehow in the presence of magic, whether horrifying or wonderful or both at once.

Just war until the end of time,
Until the sun goes out.
There’s nothing else I still require.
The night has touched my mouth.
Its lips are soft
And I am now
Both paralyzed with fear,
And shaken by ecstatic glory,
Silent, vast and clear.
The world will end in ice, they say,
Or else perhaps in flame.
The horror and the wonder are the same.

This feeling of wonder goes far beyond mere entertainment, evoking the same primal emotions as the Viking Sagas or the Arthurian legends. People crave that sensation of magic, of imagination unconstrained, of Myth made accessible.

Mythorealist fiction takes the magic of Myth and incarnates it in our world, making it clear that there are not actually two worlds in the first place- the magic is all around us. Consider the fiction of Neil Gaiman and Clive Barker, in which ordinary men and women of the modern world come face to face with other realities, vastly complex and beautiful and terribly dangerous.

Mythorealist art presents the image of the realm of Myth in front of our eyes, allowing us to stare directly into the land of dream in all its wonder and all its horror. Consider the paintings of Zdzislaw Beksinski, the weird landscapes and organic architecture of another world, presented just as matter-of-factly as a photograph.

Mythorealist poetry evokes the Otherworld like a prayer or perhaps a talisman, just as comfortable with dream as it is with nightmare.

When dreams demand surrender
Burn the bridges
Close your eyes.
I'll paint myself
And we'll rise.
The holy war
For human horror
Flowers here in me:
Just try to stop our march
And you will see.

Even the horror of nightmare leads us upward to the Fullness, awakening our spirits with its magic- but only if it is embraced. Mythorealist art confronts horror and wonder fearlessly, seeing both of them as pathways. These things do not corrupt the spirit- they help set it free. The Mythorealist artist is a magician, not the tawdry kind that seeks only to manipulate the world through non-physical means, but a far more profound kind of wonder-worker- the kind that helps us to see.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009



My lower back thanked me as I lowered myself slowly into the tub of steamy water. I had just had my sorry aching ass handed to me by my kids via the Ninentendo Wii. I tried to show them up with my moves of skill and finesse, my socks became tangled in my feet and I slipped on the family room rug. I fell hard on my tail bone. The kids laughed of course at my clumsiness, what kid wouldn't laugh?

Once, I prided myself a video game enthusiast and expert. I was pretty damn good at the original Mortal Kombat and Mario Brothers 3. My college roommate and I spent many hours sharpening our skills. We would face off as twin Liu Kangs, me red and him blue and we would block flying kicks with impeccably timed powerful upper-cut punches to Our bicycle kicks were bad assed and we were pleased by 'Toasty” over and over. Super Mario 3 and an obscure game called Star Tropics were the epitome of cleverness that 64 bits could bring to us, while licking Big Mac special sauce from the webs of our fingers and shoving monstrous handfuls of piping hot French fries down our gullets between boards. Who had time for napkins? The pant legs of our jeans or sleeves of three quarter rock-concert tee-shirts sufficed.

Even though I make a comfortable living designing video games the play of the Wii is beyond my 1980's physicality. As kids, we had well defined differences to our entertainment, baseball, football, basketball and dueling with home made martial arts weapons were things we did outside. Pac Man, Spy Hunter, Tempest or Joust, were indoor activities. Simple enough, things were easily divided and categorized back then. And now, now, I just don't get it.
My body relaxed from the water's caress. The tightness in my lower back slowly unknotted. I knew I would have a bruise, but I was fairly sure I didn't do any permanent damage. Ha, ha, Permanent Damage, oddly enough is the name of the game we were playing when I fell. My kids found it hilarious. What they thought more amusing than my actual injury was the fact that I'm the main designer for the game and I had bragged to them that I knew all the cheat codes and that there was no way in heck they could beat me. And of course they soundly trounced me at my own damn game. My injury allowed me to save face with my children. Irony no longer surprises me; at my age irony and coincidence holds no sophomoric fascination.

I closed my eyes and dabbed at the water with my fingers as if they were individual water bugs skimming the surface and bent my knees so I could scrunch down in the tub to submerge a good amount of my considerable belly. Glancing down at my navel I observed it looked like a swimming hole for louse. Yuck! I stretched my left leg and flipped a wash cloth off the faucet with my foot. It landed on my chest. I wet it and mopped my face and then slicked my hair back. The heat opened my sinuses and momentarily I was no longer a mouth breather. I closed my eyes again, salty sweat seeped through my lids and my eyes began to burn.

Looking up through tears I saw the black spot on the ceiling for the first time. About the size of a dime, it was almost dab center on the otherwise pristine white ceiling. The spot should not have been there because my wife and I the year before had spent and outrageous sum to have the bathroom renovated. If I had been a bath kind of guy, which I'm not, I’d have to look at the spot constantly and it would have annoyed me enough to investigate the origin. But to me a bath defeats the purpose of cleanliness unless followed with a hot shower. Otherwise, it is like sitting in a soup of my own filth. I find this to be a highly unappetizing hygiene habit that reminds me off the old saying, 'Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.' On a lark I once investigated the nasty history behind the euphemism. To my shock and dismay I found that during what my thirteen year old daughter called the 'olden days', the pecking order of a family’s bathing regime went from the oldest to the youngest; using the same water. I imagined how black the water must have been when it was finally the infant's turn to be washed. Children unrecognizable from detritus and filth were actually discarded with the dirty bath water. According to my research, it happened all the time. (Whatever.)

Regardless of the sauna like temperature of the bathroom I shivered, repulsed with the thought of actually bathing in such nasty water. I glanced one more time at the black spot and used my toes to flip up the lever that opened the tub drain. The water rapidly spun down into the inner reaches of the plumbing and gurgled as if having the last word or laugh at my ocd like apprehension of being in dirty water. Glancing up again at the spot I shivered harder. I carefully stood, steadying myself with the wall and prepped myself for a shower. By the time I had soaped and rinsed, I had forgotten about the black spot.


The days progressed into weeks and weeks into months as time marched on. I was walking by the bathroom and I heard a steady dripping. Thinking that someone had left a faucet on, as members of families sometimes do; I turned on the bathroom light and searched the sink and tub for signs of escaping water. Both faucets were dry and the handle valves were locked in place. I heard the dripping again and yanked back the shower curtain hard enough to pull the spring loaded shower curtain rod off the wall. The rounded metal end hit me in the face and my nose squashed and blossomed red like a tomato under the heel of a clumsy cow.
"Goddamn it!" My voice boomed and was amplified by the walls. This tiny bathroom had great acoustics. Sometimes, when the mood struck me and I knew I was going to spend an extended period of time doing my business, I played my guitar in the bathroom. I kept it safely encased in a leather sheath behind the bathroom door. I am nobody's musician, but I found that strumming a few Beatle and Beach Boy tunes relaxes me. The riffs to the Doobie Brother's China Grove, Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water and of course Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven never failed to please me.
Blood dripped down my face. I spied my guitar, it would have provided great comfort but not while I remained a bloody mess. The image of me playing the riffs to Tom Petty's Free-Falling while my rain my plasma was absorbed through the guitar strings, like a thirsty Venus flytrap sucking moisture and snapping at rotten hamburger sashayed through my head. I shrugged the thought off to my blood loss and an adrenaline rush. I tried to let the scarlet droplets drip into the sink, all the while I continued to hold the shower curtain pole, my pain induced clumsiness and I kept knocking things, mostly my wife's and teenage daughter's beauty crap off of shelves. Helpless, I continued blundering around the room knocking and breaking shit. The idea of letting go of the pole never dawned on me. I spurted little blotches of crimson all over the bathroom walls, floors, sink, tub, toilet and even the ceiling like a Goth Hansel and Gretel into blood sports, leaving behind a trail of AB negative to find their way home from a vampire club.

"Sally," I yelled for my wife; "Sally!"

"What's wrong Jayce?" My wife inquired, her voice directly in my ear and her hand on my shoulder startled me so much that I bellowed like an injured bull and spun around quickly with the shower curtain rod arced towards my her face. She nimbly ducked and weaved like a prize fighter with more luck than skill. The rod whipped by her, bare inches from impacting and probably fracturing her skull. "Jayce," She questioned as the shower curtain rod smashed into the medicine cabinet mirror, pieces of glass broke apart and sprayed like sharpened snowflake throwing stars. I felt a fragment enter my cheek. By scrunching my eyes all the way to the left I could see how it flayed my flesh to the bone with a surgeon’s precision. My bellows turned into the screams of an animal in death throes at the abattoir. My grip tightened on the rod and I made to make another violent move. "Jason Samuel Patrick Donovan O'Malley, drop that goddamn thing now!"
I dropped that goddamn thing. Sally is a tiny woman. In our own little private lexicon of pet names for each other, Pixie is one of endearment. I rarely use her christened name Sally, only in times of duress. And she either calls me Jacye or J. So when she addressed me with all four of my despised names the way my mother would address me to sit up and take notice, it brought me to my senses like a sterilized needle lancing the boil of my fear and anger.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Until My Darkness Goes


They had buried J's father on Monday.
A séance was held on Tuesday.
Nothing happened on Wednesday.
On Thursday, Jay thought he prayed to God.
Friday, doors and windows in the house opened and slammed shut by themselves.
Saturday, his dreams became nightmares.
Sunday J tossed and turned, stuck in that nightmare alley between dreams and wakefulness; where they overlapped, faded off and came back like the game Combat for the Atari 2600. Video games were his frame of reference, he loved dreaming video games. He had a mastery over each board, dominion over how the dreams went.
A sudden black out occurred as if his dream-self had shut his eyes for an instant and then the dreamscape came back online, but the arcade screen disappeared and now he dreamt of speaking to his parents in a twisty smoky version of their family room. His father, a lawyer that specialized in prosecuting health insurance fraud had finished his final set of curls and wiped the sweat from his bald head with a towel. His mother sat in her corner chair. On the card table in front of her or what she liked to call her, ‘puzzled table,’ sat a jigsaw puzzle of a field of white. "Someday, Jay told his mother and father as he navigated his block tank against the computer controlled block tank, “I'm going to design the coolest video games." His mother and father would move their heads in that barely perceptible infuriating all-knowing nod that parents save for their children, their way of crushing dreams without expending effort or guilt.
He would show them, he would stick to his guns and design the best video games anyone had ever seen.
Jay smiled in his sleep and turned over onto his right side. Now, he found himself back in the hazy version of the family room. But this time the atmosphere was off and wrong like an incomplete memory; there were no real straight lines. The room was all warped and curved space. Blue light stuck to the fringes where the walls met the ceilings and floors. The corners were rounded and fuzzy.
Like before, J’s father finished his set of curls and his mother sat at her ‘puzzled table’. A square of emptiness the shape and size of a puzzle was carved out of the surface of the table. She tried to force puzzle pieces together into the frame and the blankness absorbed the pieces, it pulsated and grew. She put down another piece and the nothingness sucked it away along with her fingers and hand up to her wrist. “See, I knew I’d figure it out eventually,” She smiled a toothy smile, “I'm the missing pieces.”
“You've come all undone Dear. You’re falling apart Hon, like a Picasso,” J’s father said and buffed his bald head with the towel as if shining a big fleshy shoe. His muscles stood out like a cartoon body builder's, protruding grotesquely.
“And you look like a douche bag Darling,” Mother replied happily.
“Good, because that's the look I've been aiming for, that eighties, yuppie douche bag essence.”
“Wonderful, but don't buff too hard Lover, you're starting to bleed.”
"Not to worry Sweets, they're only tiny bleeds in the brain.' Father slowly turned his head and stared deep into J's eyes. Not the J in the dream, but directly into the dreaming J, 'Remember son, Always own you're mistakes or your mistakes will own you.” Father gave Jay a bloody wink, “and trust me boy, you don't want your mistakes owning you.”
J awoke with a start and scraped his cheek on a throwing star deeply embedded into the oak headboard of his bed. As J's eyes adjusted to the shadowy colors of an approaching dawn a figure loomed over him, bent down and the puke green glow of J's digital alarm clock revealed his father's face. “You shouldn't have invoked me boy. It was a mistake.”
J screamed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

NOTES 1 My Fifth Grade Education, Joyce Carol Oates, Samuel Beckett's Dialectic and Re-Inventing the Light-Bulb


I'm on an overnight watching Sons of Anarchy: very well written drama. I've been reading some stuff that I want to think about out loud. This is going to be an ongoing thing that may help me put some of my thoughts in perspective.
What continually blows me away when it comes to writing and reading literature is best described by something someone had said to me when I was in fifth grade.
I was part of an experimental open classroom run by three teachers which included a husband and wife team and another dude. I miserably failed the open classroom experience. I needed structure to thrive. I was too immature emotionally to take the initiative academically but someone should have recognized my needs. When I did finally try to advocate for myself and seek assistance I was shot down and refused help. So I figured if they were going to quit on me, I would quit on them. The remainder of that school year I found a quiet corner off the beaten track and away from prying eyes and I read book after book, that's it, I did nothing else but read. But before I started my omnivorous reading regime I was part of a science study group that was learning about meteorology. The teacher, we'll call him Mr. Z was a pompous over-bearing ass who was too busy trying to intimidate and demean students then to encourage them. I did not respond well to his bullying techniques. He scared me and infuriated me at the same time. I was a bit of a braggart and I had told my fellow students that I wanted to be an inventor and scientist when I grew up and that I had a home lab. It was true, I did have what I called a home lab, but I was a kid and I played more at experimentation then performed actual experiments. Not to say I didn't learn anything in my home lab that I modeled after the child's version of a biography that I read about Thomas Alva Edison (My hero). I strongly identified with the way the author portrayed young Edison. I shared his endless curiosity. Mr. Z did not encourage independent thought and my line of questioning. He went to extremes to embarrass and make me look stupid in front of my peers. He knew that I wanted to be a scientist and instead of nurturing that ambition he tried to shut it down. What I remember most of all that even though I immersed myself in a general scientific background, my imagination had grand and wonderful thoughts about the things that I would discover and invent. Mr. Z said that I wasted my time dreaming away and that I had the propensity to be lazy and that I was a 'paper shuffler' and that I must have been an 'addled child'. He said all of these things to me in front of my peers. At ten-eleven years old, what the hell did I know, except that I was a kid in love with the wonder of the world. I wasn't the smartest kid in the class and I wasn't the dumbest, but (like today), certain concepts took me longer to grasp than others and there were some stuff where I was light years ahead of the other kids. Mr. Z wanted our group results for an experiment we had performed and had recorded on a specific document. He asked me for my results and in the sheaf of papers in my hand I could not find that form. I knew I had it, but I couldn't find it. I searched and searched. He accused me of being a slacker and that I was wasting his and valuable class time 'flipping papers' when it was obvious to everyone that I did not do the assignment. I tried to ask him if he would tell me what the paper looked like and he refused. He told me that my lack of intelligence and immaturity held back the rest of his class and that he wasn't going to waste his precious time explaining to me something everybody else already knew. I was so angry shamed that my jaw seemed to cramp and clamp up and I couldn't speak. He asked me what did I have to say for myself. I shook with fury more at myself because I couldn't talk or defend myself even though I had worked very hard on this group project and had enjoyed it. He said that if I felt the need to cry and act like a baby that I should leave the group and go to the quiet room. I could only nod my head and then hot tears did course down my cheeks as if my body responded to his suggestion to cry. He smiled an evil smile and said the thing to me that has stayed with me forever and has confirmed my adventures in literature. He said, 'That if I don't get the proper background in science and math and other academic subjects that as a scientist or inventor or whatever I wanted to accomplish in life that I would find myself inventing the light bulb or reinventing the light bulb over and over again.'
And though he meant it as an insult and to discourage me, I thought to myself, 'Coool, I would love to perform experiments that follow in Edison's footsteps and make my own light bulb.' I must have shown my pleasure at the thought by smiling and Mr. Z thought that I was being fresh because he told me if I thought being a waste of space is funny that I should be in the 'retard' room and that he had no use for me. I tried to explain to him how I thought re-inventing the light bulb would be great but he was finished with me. As I stood up to leave the group I glanced down at another kid's papers and I remembered that some of the forms were double sided. I quickly found mine and tried to hand it to Mr. Z. Mr. Z said it was too late for me and that I probably cheated and he took my paper and ripped it up. I left but not before I heard him say that now that we have cut some of the dead wood away let’s continue with today's lesson.
And that is when I started reading and reading for the rest of that year. Because it was an open classroom and an experiment, there was no pass or fail. I read and I didn't have to deal with their crap and they didn't have to put up with my imagination and endless questions. It was a good arrangement. I learned more from reading books in that corner than their three collectives asses could ever have taught me. I devoured everything.
Still, Mr. Z's insult of reinventing the light bulb thrills me.
There are moments as a writer that I have little epiphanies that are later re-confirmed when I read the works and ideas of those who came before me. I'm not re-inventing the light bulb the way Mr. Z meant it as a bad thing, instead my feelings and thoughts are given validation as an artist and craftsman of the living sentence.
Thank you Mr. Z; for being a close-minded prick and unintentionally giving me a philosophy that I have applied throughout my lifetime. Yes, you did something good and yes, you were a prick.

So, let's re-invent the light bulb together:

I'm reading The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates 1973-1982

Excerpts from her journal as follows...

January 7, 1973


...'Dreamt just before waking of a teenaged girl who wept miserably. I was half in and half out of her personality. She sat with a couple at a kitchen table, a young married couple who were friends of hers. The girl said 'this is the most wonderful place in the world,' weeping uncontrollably...
Woke, and went to work composing the scene, trying to flesh out the circumstances. Who is the girl, who are her friends, why is she crying, what happens next? (though perhaps this is the very last scene of the story& I must not tamper with it)

The emotion propels the dream-images forward, into the waking consciousness. Without that emotion they sink back, they disappear. Like all of us.'

December 1, 1974 ...'A huge manila folder, of notes--tentative scenes--character sketches, descriptions--interiors--stray thoughts written in great intensity months ago...the intensity mysterious now, and how to recover it?--that self?--how, really to remember that certainty? But if one cannot remember one can invent. The work that goes into a novel, the conscious work, is beyond estimation; the novelist should assume that, should not be immodest enough to claim he has actually worked hard. That has always struck me as self-pitying, childish, a coy plea for sympathy and praise...Or am I wrong, have I always been wrong, should I perhaps have said nothing at all rather than give the impression that writing is 'easy'? For in a sense it is easy, it is utterly the same time it is not easy at all, because it requires constant thinking, worrying, puzzling, arranging and rearranging...The immodesty of 'confessing' one has worked hard, at anything. The bullying--arrogance--shamelessness.

The desire for approval; the demand (implicit) that everyone applaud, that the audience cheer the hardworking suffering artist simply because he has suffered, or so he says. If it took me twelve years to write a book, I would not admit it. 'It took me three days to prepare this dinner for you,' someone said. 'It took me all day to scrub these floors, and now look!--you don't appreciate me!' The writer who speaks candidly of his suffering is really begging for love. He is blackmailing the rest of us. Love, acclaim, success. Blackmail.'

October 18, 1975 ...'The pleasure in critical writing: quite different from that one experiences in 'creative writing'. (Impossible term.) Where the critic can state the writer must suggest, must hint, must dramatize; one can use word directly, the other can use them as a kind of medium through which the reality of the work will be evoked in the mind of the reader. Considerable difference, a crucial difference. Which accounts for my delight in 'critical' writing as a kind of contrast to the other. A good critical essay, of course, a work of art and may be even more difficult to write than fiction. But it is never valued highly. Though I worked very hard on both my books of criticism, and it it's obvious that many long hours went into them, reviewers occasionally note that the critical pieces are 'naturally' in the service of my novels and short stories, that one would read them mainly to get insight into the fiction...How ridiculous! As if any sane person would spend so much time writing books to illuminate other books. Critical writing grows out of an intense desire on the part of the critic to and of another writer; it's a kind of collaboration, a synthesis of voices. It should not be downgraded...Yes criticism is an art form, at least when it is governed by a truly creative, generous spirit, and not by the critic's envy of 'real writers.'

July 29, 1976 …'The secret of being a writer: not to expect others to value what you've done as you value it. Not to expect anyone else to perceive in it the emotions you have invested in it. Once this is understood all will be well.'

And more light bulb re-inventing:
From Vivian Mercier' 1977 book Beckett/Beckett, I gleaned the following about the imperative of the dialectic…
(And thoughts about my playwriting and scripting. I’m not calling myself a genius, but I have been thinking exactly along these lines.)

“…In Beckett's writing: 'In reviewing the entire work of a writer of genius, the critic has no right to say, 'He is this and no that,' even where this and that are polar opposites. There is always, I believe, a dialectic at work in the minds of the greatest writers: perhaps their greatness consists precisely in the power to hold two equal and opposite ideas in the mind at once. David Helsa has written a whole book-- an excellent one-- to prove that 'the shape of Beckett's art is the shape of the dialectic.' Each of the major works is, in Hesla's opinion,
a synthesis of the positive and the negative, the comic and the 'pathetic,' the yes and the the no...Optimism and pessimism, hope and despair, comedy and tragedy and counterbalanced by one another: none of them is allowed to become an Absolute.

Unfortunately, despite Beckett's own insistence that 'the key word on my play is ''perhaps''' too many of his critics proclaim that they have found one.”

My Happily Fugged Up Childhood Viewings

I happily found The Return To The Planet of The Apes on Hulu. Cannot even begin to tell you how pleased I am. I remember watching this when I was 6 or 7, captivated by the story lines. I was already a big big fan of the prime time series and of course the movies blew me away. Interesting enough the animated series was so short lived that when I was older and mentioned the animated series to other people (and the animated Flash Gordon) nobody knew what the hell I was talking about. Favorite Saturday am shows were: Planet of the Apes, Sea Lab ( not the adult swim version, but that one is cool too) Star Trek the animated series, any of the SpiderMan animated incarnations, Super Friends (of course)any of the Batman animated series (Including the Tarzan Batman hour with BatMite) Bugs Bunny and all of the Looney Tunes, the darker seasons of the Smurfs, Run Joe Run, all the Sid and Marty Kroftt nonsense, Shazam, Isis, Ark ll, Land of the Lost (the original) Thundarr the Barbarian and I'm sure there are others.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Aesthetic and Other Things

Some of my poems are being published in New Aesthetic Magazine. Thrilled about this. I had to write my bio to accompany the poems and I didn't enjoy writing about myself that way. I like to share my thoughts and spur of the moment projects and achievements with people via Twitter, Face Book and my blog, but I don't like writing about my past accomplishments in a bio because it sounds like I'm bragging. Granted, all artist, writers, musicians etc want some kind of recognition, an audience or following in their ideal world, and I'm no different. But I want people to appreciate my work (although some would argue that the work and the artist are intertwined and that is hard to tell where one begins and the other ends)and I want the work to speak for itself. Bios make me uncomfortable and shy where otherwise I'm blatant about my thoughts, feelings and projects.
FYI I wrote a short piece called Foreplay a 10-12 minute sexual farce that may be optioned for new off-off Broadway theater company.

And here is something I found that goes hand in hand with my Star Gate/ Star Gate Atlantis Teppes Machine Avatar script that I an still waiting for the go ahead on. Also, my new thing Man In The Box has a little of this idea.