Saturday, May 31, 2008


It's strange, when writing skill, or writing style, coalesce to the point where the writer loses interest. I think that's what happnened to me. On some level, I was stagnating in madness; my surface forms were rippling, scattershot, eclectic (or ecumenical, if you prefer), but underneath it was the same old formula, as if I had written the 39th novel my Chuck Pahlaniuk--another one whose form's deep structure is manifestly there for the perceiving reader. Or not even the perceiving reader.

So, here are some resolutions I'm making to myself. I'll pick three to stick to. Or maybe two.

(1) Write a short story every week. At least three pages. Bash it out if you have to, sentence by agonizing sentence.

(2) Make note of moments of "inspiration", "grace", "inner storminess", "illumination", "irruption"... maybe you'll be better able to recall them.

(3) What happened to writing down your dreams?

(4) And why are you so lazy?

(5) Stop lamenting stories you loved in the past that were lost when your computer crashed.

(6) Don't self-indulgently fall in love. Make your prose like a sparse Californian living room, not a cluttered tenement hallway.

(7) Fuck (6). Your life, no life, has the features of a sparse living room. No life but the most superficial. Deal with clutter. Arrange it, rearrange it. Never be ashamed of it.

(8) Living life like an open book is conducive to producing a book.

(9) Savour other people's anecdotes. Savour humor. Savour harrowing. Savour tales of transformation. Savour difficult conversations. Savour stubbornness. Savour the tree-like flow of conversation, with it hundreds of unclosed branches. savour argument. These water the soil of "inspiration", "irruption", etc....

Consider: "It will do you no harm to find yourself ridiculous. / Resign yourself to be the fool you are."

Saturday, May 17, 2008

City Poem

Take my eyes and put them in the soup bowls
in the alleyways behind Spadina restaurants.
Cut off my hand and leave it there,
in the crook of a magnificent oak tree,
a message coded for future generations.
Leave my sweat; in its glisten you can see
the shimmering reflections of orange
streetlight halos on a thin coat of moisture.
Take my ribs and lay them down
as streetcar tracks. Take my nails
and stick posters on them. Take my knuckles
as balls padding the shelves
of a chatchkie shop with a smiling waving cat,
Buddha crap, lotus blossom hand towels.
Take my ears and deep fry them,
and slide them down the bar to the
hungry patron. Take and take. All this
is yours. My throat, freely wrapped
around a pylon. My hair wrapped as insulation
around electrical wires, fraying in the wind.
Take my intestines and squeeze them,
as the roadkill squirrels were squeezed. Take
my brain, which could foretell the weather
based on fluid buildups in its ventricles.
Take my tendons, and make
police lines with it. Take my stomach,
hollow it out, and put in it
jam for the winter. Take my teeth
and make prayer beads, and put them
in your coat for safekeeping.

Consider: "The stone fell on the pitcher? Woe to the pitcher. The pitcher fell on the stone? Woe to the pitcher."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Behold the Man

He peers out at your from behind a stubborn wooden pole. His sullen shape covered in sweat from hauling your ceramic tiles, or your cedarn cross-beams, with which you pave the backyards of your ego. He looks out at you from a sidewalk bench, where he lies covered with ratty dog-furs, his face framed by the bushy outgrowth of three months' beard. He cleans your windows as you wait at the red light, and in that startling space he gleams like a Greek statue. He is the shadow that flits about in the back alley you glimpse into on your way from a Greek-Japanese fusion restaurant to the place that serves Mai-Tais in the dead of winter. He is staring at you from the imperceptible static of your satellite TV screen as the voiceover describes the death toll from a famine/natural disaster/war... any form of Malthusian catastrophe, really. He is the green-blue eyed punk devil stalking up and down your neighbourhood streets and kicking the gutter for no reason but his intoxicated anxiety... the hardening of the nut that has been kicked by clean, cleated shoes. He is the waiter at the restaurant you love that secretly stashes a pubic hair in every dish he serves you. He is the denizen of every hole-in-the-wall bar that openly tells racist jokes to the company there gathered and goes home and beats his wife... even though he tries not to, even though he provides in any way he can... even though he reads his five-year-old daughter stories of Pooh Bear and Angelmouse. He is bearded and filthy. He is the dignified old genltman that sits in Tim Horton's for three hours at a time with a drowning look in his eyes. Throw him some conversation. Ballast! Dignity! Unsettle yourself.

Consider: "You must change your life."

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Why do I write?

Or, rather: why did I stop for so many months. All the blocg-checkers have probably written me off by now. But no matter. I'l ltell you why I write. It was the external outlet for the inner world. In this typing, in this drawing of sentence-strings and releasing was the only communion I had with the shape of my feelings. I think it's because I'm a stunted human: top-heavy and cerebral. As I grew I missed all those little events that make for better self-understanding: parting, sorrow, betrayal, love lost and gained, closeness, going-with-the-flow...

But no matter. I compensated for it by being dramatic within. In this inner world I found space. I moved in the world, among buildings and down streets like a wraith. The embodiment of non-flamboyence. And I always secretly despised those who could live out ther creative urges and impulses. And I became stubborn and set in my ways. Outwardly. But within! I don't think I've ever enjoyed myself more than when riding the wave of inspiration. (That is not happening today, by the way.) When things chanbel themselves through me and come out twisted, splendid and strange. How strange! Religious people would call it communion with the Divine. I make no such pretenses, aside from ascribing the same value to it. Indeed, it is the spark of the divine within us! Creation! Who would deny it, suppress it, deride it?

Most of modern society does. That's enough for today. I just want to get the ball rolling again.

Consider: "Little do men perceive what solitude is, and how far it extendeth. For a crowd is not company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."