Friday, May 27, 2011



…In New York City when the sun is shining, as it was today--like bright yellow paste--you can walk rings around the earth and feel as if you own it.
So that's what I did.
I gave myself the day. The day for me to ponder and listen and watch.
I walked to the MoMA. I love that place. There was a powerful South African exhibit that refocused my mind on racism and absurd stupidity.
Next I trekked to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, which is another 30 blocks away, sitting like a Roman theater on the eastside rim of Central Park.
The Met is filled with so much of everything. The first two floors have form after form of magnificent sculpture. You would recognize most of them.
On the other floors were an exhibit from the late, great Alexander McQueen and a host of classical paintings (Duchamp's "Nude Descending," Van Gough's "The Starry Night," Cezanne's, "The Bathers," Sauret, Kilmt, Picasso, Miro, Munch, Manet, Monet, Matisse…) that were bewildering in the number and in their accessibility.
Then I hitched it (cab) to SOHO for wine and food at my favorite tavern, "Bar 89." The ambiance there is spartan yet artistic in a sort of Asian way, while the music playing was Gipsy Kings. At "Bar 89" (89 Mercer Street) on the second mezzanine is the bathroom which, by all accounts, is the main attraction. (People run in all the time just to see it. For a while they had to post a guard.) You look down at the pale, warped, wooden planks to see M W M W M W in order to know which restroom to use. The restroom doors are about 12 feet tall, made of glass with sleek chrome hinges and handles. Once you step inside, the glass sort of bubbles, like champagne, or resembling what would happen in Star Trek when Kirk would say, "Beam me up, Scotty." And so you can't see inside the stall, but if you're inside the facility you can very well see outside while you're doing your business, which is sort of freaky and cool and artistic all at once.

…While in the Met I bought a book on Klimt, who I knew, but only in a roundabout way. I just finished it. It's hard to describe how fantastic he is. You can stare and examine and stare and examine and then come back to a particular piece later on and do the same and you'll still see so much that you’d somehow missed previously.
He was obsessed with the beauty of women, "Eros and Thanatos" i.e., Sexuality and Death. Those themes come through in nearly every painting he ever did.
Incidentally, more color reproductions are sold in museums of the works of Klimt than any other artist.


…I am trying not to be so focused on me. I am trying to cleave that part of me off, away.
But I am a little sad, tarnished right now.
Got a few story rejections, which is fine, but then comes the Alex Glass rejection for my novel, "House of Rats..."
He was extraordinarily kind and sounded authentic about the writing, but in the end it's a no.
I realize it's almost unreasonable to think you'll get an agent your first time querying, but I had hopes.
So, yeah, that's like a dagger on top of some other unfriendly news.

On the plane I outlined my new novel. I like the characters and the story. The premise is nothing as unusual as "House of Rats," though, so now I'm sort of swimming in some writerly self-doubt.

This morning's flight and accompanying travel was a debacle. Truly. Suffice it to say that I traversed all of Newark's terminals (from C to A to C) twice and walked through the jet way door just as he was closing it. I had been running. In my socks. I just grabbed my stuff from screening and didn't bother to put it back on--shoes, belt-- and ran. I got onboard sweating like a fountain. It was my son's birthday and I couldn't miss it.

On the flight I dealt with cold sores and a migraine. There was massive turbulence. Somehow the girl next to me slept through it, snoring wide-mouthed like a baleful trout.

…But tough days make the good ones all that much better, right?

Tomorrow will be great, I know it.


Good morning, Sunshine.

I am ready.

Here are a few things I like for the weekend--

"A childlike man is not a man whose development has been arrested; on the contrary, he is a man who has given himself a chance of continuing to develop long after most adults have muffled themselves in the cocoon of middle aged habit and convention." Aldous Huxley

"The only people for me are the mad ones. The ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time. The ones who never yawn or say a common place thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars" ~ Jack Kerouac

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
"I've always wanted to own a maternity shop. I'd call it:” We're Fucked!" Sarah Silverman


  1. Robert Olen Bulter came to HK a few weeks ago - I went to the talk and a little workshop he ran, had a chat with him. His last wife is also a writer. Just as a great writing spell came to an end, he fell into self-doubt and finally, self-loathing, his wife would look at him and go, 'Oh great. Now you're going to write for real.'

  2. OK, Len,

    a little self-doubt is OK. Very little. Everyone had some. David Foster Wallace had some. John Kennedy Toole had some. So you are allowed a little. But then look at the ten million acceptances you have, and move on. Send the novel to someone else. If you believe in it, you will find an agent who will, too. YOU ARE GREAT. Keep going, damn it!

  3. nicolette and andrew,
    thanks for your continued support. i really appreciate the encouragement and i'm pretty tough when it comes to getting knocked down. just once in a while, though, it's good to vent. thanks for listening and remarking.

  4. ...arrived here while continuing from your Language/Place/Edge post. so good. and what a surprise, to meet Klimt, of all artists. i saw his work in Vienna last year, and read notes of his torn biography. they allow to take photos in Klimt museum. here's a bit: Klimt in Vienna (Sezession21)