Friday, May 31, 2013



--DON'T YOU WANT TO STAY HERE A WHILE?


…Happy Friday.

"Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without
forgetting." Elizabeth Bibesco

"A certain cloud of loneliness sets the conditions for a storm of poetry." Melodie Past

"The investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty. And why? Because ugly is human. It touches the bad and the dirty side of people. You know, this might have been a scandal in fashion but in other fields of art it is common: in painting and in movies, it was so common to see ugliness. But, yes, it was not used in fashion and I was very much criticized for inventing the trashy and the ugly." - Miuccia Prada

"If you do the best you can, you will find, nine times out of ten,
that you have done as well as or better than anyone else." William Feather

"This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." Shakespeare

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau

"I don't see why we ever think of what others think of what we do – no matter who they are. Isn't it enough just to express yourself?" Georgia O'Keefe

"The world is a hellish place and bad writing is destroying the quality of our suffering." Tom Waits

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” Henry David Thoreau

"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T. S. Eliot

"You get whichever accomplishment you are willing to declare." Georgia O'Keeffe
‎"Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard." Anne Sexton
 "Whatever job I'm doing I try to do the best I can with it and enjoy it for what it is and what it entails. I passed the time in the shoe shop by trying to be the best damn shoe salesman in the whole of New Jersey.  The fact that I didn't succeed and ended up washing the coffee cups in the kitchen didn't really matter. I just tried to get those coffee cups the cleanest they'd ever been. Playing in the band was another job.  The only difference was, I was finally doing the one thing that I had any aptitude for."
-Jon Bon Jovi,

"It's much better to attempt to trust people until they prove you wrong."  Thom Yorke"


“Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see the greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.” Edmund Lee

Wednesday, May 29, 2013



…SOMETHING’S BURNING
              
                                            
…Yesterday I wrote two things while taking a bath.
Here’s one:

                                                                         Blood Orange

            She wants to go back to before, back to the beginning, prior to this secret death, long before the twins were snuggled inside her womb, a pair of bocce balls, grapefruits sprouting limbs, becoming gangly, alien-looking in medical film, later floating inside her embryonic soup like plucked chickens, as if pretending to be astronauts tethered to nothing, gravity inconsequential, and her feeling their slide and glide all the way up to her ribs, Jim, her husband saying, “Hey, they just moved, didn’t they?”, her thinking they should never have married let alone gotten pregnant, let alone with twins, her a twin herself, always copying Claire’s style, dying her hair blood orange in high school because Claire did, piercing her navel, lip, clit, now married-Claire, perfect-Claire, already bringing over baby gifts before the twins are even hatched, scads of matching baby outfits, Seuss-striped pajamas and miniature spoons, Claire thinking of twins—the concept of twins--as rare, precious, a kind of unbreakable bond between them, no different than the covenant of marriage, Claire happy in hers, Jim now lifting a butt cheek and farting into the sofa, him pale, bloated, dull as alabaster, an unremarkable future staring back through a reflective square in the television’s right hand corner, it becoming a kaleidoscope, then a camera, clicking away at their beige walls and carpets, their beige ambitions, nothing ever ventured, nothing, really, ever gained except an ordinary existence, a death sentence she feels sluicing down her thighs as her water breaks.


…Here’s the other:

                                                                How We Got Here

            We wear hand-me downs and each other’s shoes, even if they’re too tight and pinch.  To save money, father buzzes our hair down to bristles with shears that rattle and sometimes catch patches of skin.  We eat in silence, the only sound metal chinking on plastic plates, food being chewed and swallowed.
            After supper, we lay on the shag carpet watching black-and-white TV, listening to a family that’s nothing like our own, hearing how happy they are, noticing what a fine car they drive, how big their dining room is.     
            At night we three sleep on the same mattress.  We never dream, or if we do, we never say.  In the mornings we rise before the sun and make it to the fields, row after row of the same bushes, flocked with blood-red berries glinting against green.
            We work on our knees, filling the flats as fast as we can because it’s cash money they pay here.  Afternoons, we stand in line with the other migrants, wilted and sweaty, each person taking his turn, handing over a punch card and receiving berry-stained bills in return.
            Years later, one brother steals a car, another brother robs a convenience store, and I break into a house.

            Now we wear orange uniforms, sit in similar cells, stroll in sunlight for a single hour each day.  At night we lay in cots.  We imagine freedom, beaches with chalk-colored sand, a skiff bobbing on waves.  

Monday, May 27, 2013



--IT'S A SMALL CRIME, BUT I GOT NO EXCUSE


 
…Happy Memorial Day.
How's your holiday weekend going?

…Here are some things I learned last week:

…E-book sales were up 43% last year, accounting for 20% of all book sales.  (They're up 4456% since 2008).  Still hard cover sales rose 6%.  So, apparently more people actually are reading.

…42% of 5th to 12th graders think they will invent something in their lifetime that will change the world.
43% think they will own their own business someday.

…A Microsoft survey found that the average worker looks at their email 36 times and hour.

…779 -Men held at Guantanamo prison since it opened in January 2002
166 -Men held as of January 2013
86 -Men held after being cleared for release in 2009
46 -Prisoner the U.S. says are too dangerous to release but it lacks evidence to prosecute

…There are 500 sexual assaults every week in the military.

…$30,000 -Average cost to settle a dog bit insurance claim

…U.S. airlines earned $3.5 billion in fees for checked luggage and another $2.6 billion in fees charged for changing a reservations.

…Each year, 10,000 Americans are killed by drunk drivers.
170,000 are injured

…Boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr. is expected to make over $90 million this year.
LeBron James is second at $56.5 million.
The average teacher salary in the U.S. is $55,000

…The stock market is up 140% since March, 2009.
The average home value is down 20% since that time.

…Single adults 50 and older prefer to date someone:
Older:
4% of men say yes.
25% of women say yes.
Younger:
22% of women say yes.
63% of men say yes.

The top five baby names of 2012 for boys:
1.Jacob
2.Mason
3.Ethan
4.Noah
5.William

For girls:
1.Sophia
2.Emma
3.Isabella
4.Olivia
5.Ava
87% of all people say they like their first name, including 31% who say they love it.

Tom Hanks is American's most trusted man.  Tom Cruize is our least trusted.
Sandra Bullock is the most trusted woman, Kristen Stewart the least.

…Last year, nearly 300 guns were seized at Texas airports alone.  Three out of four guns were loaded.

..56% of people born after 1983 don't know the basis of Roe vs. Wade.  16% believe it had to do with school desegregation.

…The 4 worst cities for traffic:
#4 -Seattle
#3 -San Fran
#2 - Honolulu

#1 -L.A.

Friday, May 24, 2013







--YOU LOOK SO DIFFERENT WITH YOUR WINGS


…Happy weekend.  Happy holiday weekend.
What are your plans?
I have a few things in the works, but nothing major.

…Here’s what some funny (or drunk) folks had to say on Facebook this week:

I'm a man magnet! Rubbin' bacon grease behind my ears really works. Unfortunately, every dog on the block is tryin' to hump my head.

I've gotta get my feng shui schwayin'...

Let's all take bets as to when I will actually lose my damn mind.....ready....GO!!!

i keep saying i'm going to do stuff, but i'll probably just end up eating an ice cream sandwich.

Feel like if I were to die right now that the fragrance from my armpits would overpower any corpse rotting smells.

sitting here, trying to will a gallon of milk down the street and through the door.

It's official! I'm a juror!
What kind of fuckery is this!

You can't make this stuff up. Dean and I arrived back at the cabin to discover a message on our phone: "Hi Tammy, this is Uncle Bob. Just wanted you to know the goose is out. Not sure if that matters, though."

split me open and pour in the candy.

Hungover. No TP in the house. In need of coconut water

This is not a punch line: I seem to have misplaced my black pleather plants.

Conversation I just overhead from the swings in my backyard between Davis as his buddy.
"If we shipped your sister to Taiwan, then you would have to adopt me right?"
Hmm....not sure much shipping a 5 year old to Taiwan is but I don't think Davis or his buddy have enough in their piggy banks.
Happy Friday all!

Just got followed on Twitter by "Licorice Nipples."

Yeah, I am unashamed to be of that age of staying home and drinking alone.

TFGIF.

I ate an order of large fries from Wendy's today. I'm a member of the bourgeoisie.

I don't trust men who wear flip-flops.

Repent, the end of the world is near.when people tell you that you can’t..in fact especially then..that’s when i hope you’ll sing the loudest..i hope you buy a bracelet everywhere you go until your

Fuck yes.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013







--WHERE ARE YOU?


…Bob Dylan's birthday is tomorrow, Thursday.  Happy birthday, Bob.  I think you're the greatest.  Really, I do.  You're still kicking it hard at 72.

…I had this story up at Barleby Snopes:

…and this at Cease, Cows:

…Here are some things I like mid-week:


"I believe that one of the characteristics of the human race - possibly the one that is primarily responsible for its course of evolution - is that is has grown by creatively responding to failure." Glen Seaborg

“Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself. " Antoine De Saint-Exupery

"Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you. Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself - and be lenient to everybody else." Henry Ward Beecher

"There are thoughts which are prayers.  There are moments, when, whatever the posture of the body, the soul is on its knees." Victor Hugo
"Winning isn't everything, but wanting to is." Andrea Metcalf
 "Our greatest weakness is giving up.  The most certain way to success is to try one more time." Thomas Edison

"Let's put our mind on pause and our heart on play (it's a beautiful day)." Joseph Quintela

"I'm going to love Wisdom. Love her deep and hard. We may not come up for air for hours." Seedy Johnson

“There is a fissure in my vision and madness will always rush through.” Anaïs Nin

"I am willing to remain and play the man's game if there are not enough boats for more than the women and children… Tell my wife I played the game straight out and to the end.  No woman shall be left aboard this ship because Ben Guggenheim is a coward." Benjamin Guggenheim, Final words of millionaire traveler aboard the ill-fated Titanic.  As the boat began to sink, Guggenheim changed into formal dress and calmly faced death.

"You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late." Ralph Waldo Emerson

"It has been said that art is a tryst, for in the joy of it maker and beholder meet." Kojiro Tomita

"Being forced to work, and forced to do your best, will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle never know." Charles Kingsley

Monday, May 20, 2013






--COME BACK TO THE WINDOW AND LISTEN


…I have a news story, “Witches” up at Lit Bomb UK:

…The new “Vampire Weekend” and “Dawes” cd’s arrived and I love them both.
More books (yikes) arrived as well:
“Tenth of December” George Saunders
“Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned,” Wells Tower
“Seduction,” M.J. Rose
“The Interestings,” Meg Wolitzer
“Saturday,” Ian McEwan

…Yesterday I had to write a piece that was 200 words or less for a writer’s group I belong to.  Anymore, I’m having trouble doing such short things, unless it’s poetry, of course.  But I did write this:

                                            
                                                                             Couples

            At the park, Jess watches a young man push his girlfriend on a swing.  The girlfriend chuckles with each shove, her laughter more gurgles than laughter.  Sometimes he tickles her before liftoff to make her gurgle harder. 
            “Stop!” she says, but he knows No means Yes, so he tickles her more and she gurgles again.
            Next they move to the Merry Go-round.  They’re hardly pros.  The young man has difficultly pushing while maintaining balance.  Each time he tumbles, the girlfriend gurgles and shrieks with delight. 
            “You’re silly!” she says.
            Jess watches the young man belly flop into a pile of maple leaves, flapping his arms and legs as if making a snow angle, the girlfriend snorting and gurgling. 
            “Come on over,” the young man says, patting a flattened patch, “I’ve saved a seat for you.”
            After she does, the young man scans the pile for a particular leaf, one with a long stem, placing it through her hair, telling her she’s beautiful while watching her blush.  Then he kisses her nose.
            At dinner that night, Jess decides not to tell her husband about the couple she saw, the pair with Down Syndrome.  Instead, she eats in silence.  They both do.   

Friday, May 17, 2013




--I STILL LOVE YOU, NEW YORK


…I’ve written five stories in the last two days.
(Not bad.  I’m getting somewhat productive again.)
I really like all of them, but, of course, that might just be self-bias.
One I wrote was really disturbing (shocked, aren’t you?)  I’m not sure if the editor will take it.  I think the subject matter is important, it’s real, and it shouldn’t be shirked, but I’ll be surprised if it gets published.
I’m the featured writer next month at Pure Slush, an online site I love, and an editor I really respect (he’s the one who shunned my story, “Fashionista” because he thought the ending was too dark, though he’s accepted more than a dozen of other pieces I’ve written.)  I’m going to send him all five stories and see what happens.
I can always write more.
Right?

…Social networking, Facebook—it’s not real, and yet it is very real.  People say/write/type things they wouldn’t if they were speaking.  Yet they’re often things they’d say if they were uninhibited, drunk maybe, and so that sort of social networking sites, and the people you’ve likely never met on them, real.
Don’t you think?

…Anyway, here are some of the latest Facebook posts that caught my eye for whatever reason:
-Conversation with my daughter today:
"Daddy, do you have a nipple on your face?"
"No, that's just a mole."

-To the sixty-year old overweight dude jogging at the corner of Marsh and Haslett with a tiny blue speedo on. Busy intersection, man, you're causing accidents with that absurdity.

-The person in the car in front of me threw three banana peels out their window and I had a crazy Mario Kart 64 flashback/freakout.

-Says a recent admirer: "You can sweat when you chortle, or snort."

-Itty bitty bird fetus photos coming soon.

-Whatever nothing is made up of nothing means it

-Welcome married flirters!

-"I hope that one day you buy every pretty dress you’ve ever wanted..i hope you wear them and dance barefoot in summer and laugh..i hope you smile at all the little things..like flowers..and the laughter of children..i hope you get that tattoo you’ve always wanted..i hope you learn to speak french fluently..i hope you go to paris and every single state in the US..i hope you never stop singing... when people tell you that you can’t..in fact especially then..that’s when i hope you’ll sing the loudest..i hope you buy a bracelet everywhere you go until your whole arm is filled with them..i hope you stop beating yourself up about everything that’s out of your control..i hope you step out of your comfort zone..i hope you fall insanely in love with someone unexpected..i hope you forget about your scars..inside and out..and learn to be happy”when people tell you that you can’t..in fact especially then..that’s when i hope you’ll sing the loudest..i hope you buy a bracelet everywhere you go until your whole arm is filled with them..i hope you stop beating yourself up about everything that’s out of your control..i hope you step out of your comfort zone..i hope you fall insanely in love with someone unexpected..i hope you forget about your scars..inside and out..and learn to be happy”when people tell you that you can’t..in fact especially then..that’s when i hope you’ll sing the loudest..i hope you buy a bracelet everywhere you go until your

-I don't trust men who wear flip-flops.when people tell you that you can’t..in fact especially then..that’s when i hope you’ll sing the loudest..i hope you buy a bracelet everywhere you go until your

-WAKE UP, SHEEPLE!

-I'm going to like you anyways.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013



--I HOPE YOU HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE


...A friend of mine had a story published in the prestigious lit journal, Tin House.  Since then, he's had three agents query him, asking if he has a novel.  That's pretty impressive.
So yesterday I wrote something for TH.  It may be too traditional, but I like how it turned out.
Here it is:


                                                           Smokejumpers

               From our tree fort, using Benny’s stolen Boy Scout binoculars, we watched the fast-moving fire scream across the Cascades, watched the flames twist and spark and rage.
               “It kind of looks like a dragon,” I said, my teeth chattering despite the summer heat.
               “A dragon straight out of hell.”
               Even though the fires were still far away, the air around us had turned spicy, hot and thick with soot.  Breathing felt like sucking down sand.
               We were kneeling, looking out the opening.  My foot wouldn’t stop twitching and it made dull, rabbit-thumping sounds on the slatted wood floor.  “You think it’ll reach us?” I asked, hoping my voice didn’t sound reedy. 
               “I hope so,” Benny said.
               “Are you nuts?”
               “Man, I hate it here.  This place sucks.”
               He meant his life sucked.  Benny’s sister had gotten pregnant at sixteen, just a year older than us now.  She wouldn’t say who the father was, though town gossip had it being Benny’s Dad.  Into her second trimester, the girl ran away and no one had heard from her since.  Benny’s father used to work for the lumber mill, but being perpetually drunk, consequences caught up with him one day when he cut his arm off at the elbow.  Since then he spent his days drinking away insurance checks at “The Silver Dollar.”  Because of that, and because Benny had been motherless as long as I’d known him, Benny was left with more freedom than anyone our age.
               “Whoa!” Benny said.
               “Let me see.”
               “Just a sec.”
               I wondered about the animals, if they could outrun the flames.  I had a dog, Rosie, named after my favorite baseball player, Pete Rose.  Imagining her on fire gave me the willies and prickled my forearm flesh until it looked like one of those bald chickens Mom bought home to fry.
               I kept wondering if we shouldn’t get down, go inside the house and watch the news.  There was talk that we might have to evacuate, depending on the strength of the winds.  Outside the fire split into two’s, then three’s, like a burning hydra, torching pines and evergreens, leaving a smoldering, black rug in their wake.
               The blaze crested the mountains and swung down the slope at a rapid speed.  I squinted my eye, trying to estimate how much distance the flames covered over the span of a minute, then factoring in the expanse between us and the fires.  Math was my weakest subject, but if my guess was even partially correct, the fire would be on our heels in less than two hours.  I told myself that couldn’t be right.  I was an idiot at math.  We were safe.  God was a busy guy, but he’d never allow us to roast.
               “It doesn’t seem real,” I said, having difficulty speaking.
               “Oh, yeah it does.”
               “It looks like a movie.”
               “Don’t smell like one.”
               Earlier in the year, Benny and I had seen “Towering Inferno” starring Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.  Afterward, I’d thought I might want to be a fireman someday, but now I knew I didn’t.  I could never be that brave.
               Benny handed me the binoculars and reached into his sock, pulling out a pack of Tareytons he’d lifted from his dad’s dresser.  “Want a smoke?” he asked, grinning, remembering the last time I’d taken a few drags and ended up vomiting in a black berry bush.
               “Nah.”
               “Didn’t think so.”
               Benny was an excellent smoker.  He blew tight circles that looked like fuzzy onion rings and each time he’d break the ring in two with his forefinger.
               “Are you hungry?” I asked.  I wasn’t, but figured it might be a way to get us out of the tree fort.
               “Man, we ate like a whole box of Twinkies.” 
               I’d forgotten.  Those, too, we’d filched from Benny’s dad.  The man was drunkard with a sweet tooth.  Benny had opened up the cramped closet inside his father’s bedroom, revealing a treasure trove of goodies—Hostess Fruit Pies, Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, you name it.  There were Playboy magazines, as well, old ones.  Playmate of the Year for March, 1970, was Chris Koren.  Benny ogled the centerfold and said, “Man, isn’t she hot?” which troubled me because Chris Koren looked just like Benny’s sister, only naked and wearing makeup.
               Benny tilted his head back, blowing smoke at the ceiling, watching it meander ghostlike into each cobwebbed corner.  He sang, “Come on baby, light my fire.”  Then, “I fell into a burning ring of fire.”
               “Stop.”
               “Lighten up.”
               I already felt light, dizzy, too.  Nails moaned and boards creaked as the wind sashayed our fort.  “How old’s this thing?” I asked.
               “Ancient.”
               “How ancient exactly?”
               “It was here before the Indians.”
               Bennie knew how to get my goat.  I felt like puking and had to pee.
               “I’ve got to take a leek.”
               “Be my guest,” Benny said, wanding his arm like an usher.  He meant for me to pee out the opening, down into a heap of beer cans and moldy cardboard boxes below.  That was what we always did, wanting to stay in the fort as long as possible.
               “I think I have to do the other, too.”
               “Take a dump?”
               I hated the word dump.  I hated crap as well.  “Yeah,” I said.
               Benny raised an eyebrow.  He didn’t believe me.  He knew I was scared.  “Better do it before you drop a loaf in your shorts.”
               Loaf.
               I told him I’d be right back.
               “Grab a couple of Pabsts while you’re at it.”
               “Sure.”
               “And a couple of Playboys, the newest ones you can find.”
               Going down the latter, the wind whipped my shoulders, threatening to throw me off.  The air was filled with chaff and tiny bits of dirt.  My eyes stung, then started to water.  I hoped Benny wasn’t watching because I worried he might think I was crying.
               “Oh boy!” I heard him squeal.  “The earth’s turning into one giant weenie roast.”
               I made it to the house, turning on the television.  Benny only got three channels.  Soap operas were on two and a game show on the other.  No news coverage of the fire.
               In the fridge, I found two whole shelves filled with Pabst Blue Ribbon.  I opened one and swallowed half a can.  It burned going down, but tasted delicious, just the right kind of sour.  Benny’s trailer was no more than thirty feet long.  Wood paneling lined the walls.  When I thought how much the fire would enjoy those walls, I got scared again and gulped the rest of my beer.
               Outside, in just the few minutes since I’d left the fort, the air now wore a thick, charcoal fog.  It was mostly overhead, but it hadn’t been there before.  I yelled up at Benny, “How close is it?”
               He leaned over the opening, only holding on with one hand as the fort swayed and convulsed.
               “Where’s my beer?”
               “Damn it, Benny.”
               “I’m dying of thirst up—“
               A violent gust came out of nowhere, jarring the tree fort.  High up, a branch cracked, flying off, then smacking the ground inches from my foot.  It took a moment for the dust to clear, longer for my fear to ease.
               “Holy crap, you almost got nailed.”
               “Let’s go,” I said.
               “Go?”
               “It’s crazy to stay.”
               “Are you kidding me?  This is like the world’s greatest fireworks show.”
               I didn’t always understand Bennie, and right then I didn’t know if he was brave or dumb, or if he enjoyed the thought of being burned alive.
               “Don’t be stupid,” I said.
               “Stupid is as stupid does.”
               “Fine.”
               “Fine.”
               “I’m leaving.”
               “Have a swell trip.”
               “I mean it, I’m leaving.”
               “Safe travels.”
               “Screw you.”
               “And you the same, my good buddy.”
               I watched him turn and go back inside.  I considered pleading again, but knew it would be of no use.
               I walked past the house fast.  When I was a good block away I started to trot before breaking into a full sprint.

                                                                      *     *     *     *     *

               “It’s a big one,” my partner yells. 
               He’s the one flying our helicopter, a Bell 205, fully loaded with water.  Half a mile in front of us, the canyons roil and flicker and smolder.  Plumes of black float away in the breeze, erasing much of the landscape.
               “Looks like Armageddon,” my partner says.
               It does.  Most of the fires we fight do.
               After we dump our load, four of us in the chopper will drop down and start working the eastern rim where the spread is expected.  We have our chutes, shovels, picks and other gear.
               “You doing okay?  You seem a little more out of it than usual.”
               “I’m fine.”
               “Hell you are.”
               I look down at the inferno engulfing acres by the minute.  It’s nothing I haven’t seen dozens of times, though each battle has its different nuances, nature often outwitting man.
               “I knew a kid once,” I say, “thought he could beat a wildfire by himself.”
               “Yeah?”
               I think about Benny that day, how I’d run for help, not getting there fast enough.  Benny must have come down from the fort after I’d left, and walked straight toward the hills.  That’s the only explanation I could think of, because smokejumpers eventually managed to contain the blaze before it hit any homes.  As far I know, that tree fort might still be standing today.
               “Hey, you awake?”
               “Sorry,” I say.
               “So what happened, to that kid?”
               I picture Benny leaning out over the opening, asking for his beer.  I picture him leaping into a smoke-filled heaven.
               “You’ll never believe it,” I say.
               “Try me.”
               “He won.”
                              

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013




--YOU KISSED A GIRL AND YOU LIKED IT


…I had this piece, “The Rinse Cycle” up at Cease, Cows:

…Last week I was called “a modern master” and someone else called me “brilliant.”  Really?  No way.  Half the time I don’t even feel like a real writer.  Half the time I wonder if I don’t suck.  But I’ll admit the comments felt awfully nice.

…Here are some things I like to start a new week:

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx

"If a man hasn't discovered something that he would die for, he isn't fit  to live." Martin Luther King, Jr.

"I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day
came." Abraham Lincoln

"I'm trying to die correctly, but it's very difficult, you know." Lawrence Durrel

"I'm completely optimistic - I know the end is coming!" Lydia Lunch

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Eleanor Roosevelt

"I'm no hero.  I put my bra on one boob at a time like everyone else." Tina, "Bob's Burgers"

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." Gandhi

"For man, as for flower and beast and bird, the supreme triumph is to be most vividly, most perfectly alive." D. Lawrence

"I am what is changing secretly in you." Paul Valéry

"Most of us can, if we choose, make this world either a prison or a palace." L. Avebury

"We each have all the time there is; our mental and moral status is determined by what we do with it." Mary Blake

"To write is to talk to strangers." Tracy Kidder

"Reading is not only entertainment; it is a kind of silent conversation with ourselves… We are taken out of ourselves and moved more deeply into the process of living." PW

" ... Think of being curled up and floating in a darkness. Even if you could think, even if you had an imagination, would you ever imagine its opposite, this miraculous world the Asian Taoists call the Ten Thousand Things? And if the darkness just got darker? And then you were dead? What would you care? How would you even know the difference? ..." Denis Johnson

"In things pertaining to enthusiasm, no man is sane who does not know how to be insane on proper occasions." Henry Beecher

"Sometimes we just can't save ourselves from stupid." Men's Health

"Real heroes are men who fall and fail and are flawed, but win out in the end because they've stayed true to their ideals and beliefs and commitments." Kevin Costner

"Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in." Andrew Jackson

"You’ll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind." Irish proverb

"Don't write what you know, write what you feel." Alice Hoffman

"The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated." William James

"Discovery consists in seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." Albert von Szent-Gyorgyi