There’s a man on his cell phone in a stall of this upscale restaurant bathroom asking “how much the deposit was” and I wonder if there is such a thing as surreal anymore.
There are whistles in the night here in Luling; sustained and shrieking tones, vaguely metallic, always as if from some impossible distance. Everyone assumes they come from the chemical plant, I’m sure. That’s why nobody knows what I’m talking about when I mention them. People tune these strange sounds out for a variety of reasons, all centered around the necessity of avoiding confrontation with the unspeakable. But popular opinion on their origin is immaterial in this case: what if these tones are not the sound of the plant itself, but the sound of some effect of, or even response to it? I can’t help but feel they constitute a warning, or worse, some supernatural version of “Taps.”
I find myself staying up late to listen to them.
Life is not a contest of strength, but a function of grace.
These days it seems like the whole world is a highway lined with tourist traps: word got out that we’re all yokels on a long and confusing journey, ready to jump at the chance to purchase anything that reminds us why we’re so far away from home.
When I say: “I refuse to chase after clicks,”
I mean: “I’m tired of making Mark Zuckerberg rich by chasing constant validation.”
LONG LIVE THE OPEN WEB!
Every week or so, I take all the little scribbles I accumulate in various apps and on strange, half-forgotten scraps of paper and I file them in their proper place in my system; a process I call my notebook démêler (h/t to the Cajuns of my wife’s homeland for the term, which is a fantastic way of saying “de-messification”). Today I was doing all this de-messificaiton and I noticed my list of books to read was kind of outdated (new books to add, books I’ve read to remove). Anyway, my point is that in the ten minutes it took me to update the list, I somehow managed to buy yet another book of poetry. Typical.
Also: to all the publishers who are thoughtful enough to include a page that helps you set the text size correctly on your e-reader so the poem line breaks are shown correctly, thank you, thank you, thank you. And thank you for publishing poets.
Long day today. Did that on purpose: woke up with a tired brain and my body was jealous I guess so I probably ended up walking for over three hours, roaming Alkmaar and taking pictures, enjoying the bracing, cool weather and the way the streets and buildings here are becoming familiar.
On a whim, I opened Twitter for the first time in months and the first thing I saw was a link to an interview with Kate Zambreno with the excerpt “I can’t speak for other writers, but you can’t let not knowing what you are doing stop you” which is exactly what I needed to be reminded of at that moment. The interview was great, and I got back to work feeling refreshed. Thanks, internet: that’s a rare win.
I’m not writing much these days. Or am I? It’s hard to say, because the words are everywhere: they wind up in little scribbles on receipts, in autocorrect-encrypted phrases on my phone, in no order whatsoever in one of three cool looking paper notebooks, as well as scattered among work in progress – a novella, a mutant short story, and half a dozen poems exhibiting every symptom of delusional thinking. But I guess that’s writing, right? Well then, I’ve been writing a good bit these days.
Back in New Orleans for a while, where all the little questions of daily life are easier to answer: it’s no big deal to blunder through the day, I know just the cheap little place to grab lunch, and I never have to look at a map. Coming home is like going on vacation.