brothercyst: August 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

weekend lock-in

While nearly everyone I know will be spending this three-day weekend on vacation or at least be pretty profligate in their attendance of social events, I won't be leaving my apartment until Tuesday morning. Shades down, music on: much to do. God, it's going to be hard to do this without cigarettes. Quitting smoking was easy--I quit around end of June--but I now remember that it was so pleasant to smoke while taking a break from feverish writing. I miss it! But not that much. Eating apples, peaches, and grapes is a substitute behavior. I'm re-reading The Rachel Papers now. I have a stack of other books to read and write about. My day job is busier and busier. Has anyone seen Halloween or Death Sentence? I had a strong desire today to see both today, but the reviews were so terrible and my friends refused to go... they're probably shit anyway, it's good that I didn't go.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

My review of Engleby by Sebastian Faulks, which is probably my favorite of the books I've read for the paper so far. This whole writing-for-a-newspaper thing has reminded me on what unsteady ground you are when reading someone's published writing and regarding it as his or her "own" writing. The edited & published version of the piece is often a good bit different (or a little bit different, but in ways that affect the sentences tonally, even if they don't affect the overall sentiment) from the original. The Engleby review needed more editing than most because I turned in a piece 100 words over the limit. So a lot of sentences understandably were condensed wherever possible. They mean the same thing, but now their construction is a little crabbed and curt. The books editor at the Sun is pretty great about editing (it's not like when I wrote for the paper in college and I'd have to go to their office every night before one of my pieces ran to delete all the bizarre hipster witticisms that they'd inserted) but occasionally there are weird things, like how I wrote "titular character" in the first sentence of the review and it was eventually changed to "eponymous character." In summary, Engleby is quite good.

Also, I am made reference to in a Bobby Farouk story.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

challenged by mouse

Totally fucking bizarre dream I just had. Went to sleep with a bunch of debris on my bed--books, notebooks, etc. Dreamed I was lying in bed with a bunch of debris on the bed. The debris included an open cereal box. A little mouse jumped on the bed and started running around. Somehow this mouse was my romantic rival--it thought it could steal my girlfriend! She had seen it in the subway, pointed to it, and said, "What a cute mouse!" It got into the cereal box and was nibbling on the cereal and sometimes coming to the mouth of the cereal box just to stare at me. All I had to do to trap it (and subsequently kill it) was close the box fast. But I was incapable of movement or speech. I was lying in bed but couldn't move and was absolutely sure I was awake. Tried to scream and couldn't--feared I was making some sort of bizarre croaking/keening noise instead. Thought I heard someone right outside my bedroom door say, "Nick?" The mouse kept nibbling the cereal and looking at me. Finally woke up and regained movement in my limbs, breathing hard, heart pounding. No cereal box, no mouse, no one outside the door.

After thinking about it, I believe the dream was related to this.

Last night, went around Brooklyn with EJ, we ate, went to Ned Vizzini's apartment, saw Bess and Olena from KGB plus Jami Attenberg and her editor plus Marty and Jess plus Ned's girlfriend S., then went to terrible place, then went to swim at 3 am: great and surreal.

Bourne movies make weak people throw up. Oh no, the camera's too shaky! Come on.

Finished reading Engleby, my really positive review of which should eventually materialize. Why does such a good book have a such shitty, uncreative cover design? Realized I badly want to reread The Rachel Papers. Now to write and eat.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

wretched hipster movie (updated with good movies)

Gawker editors have terrible taste. Who watches the trailer of Hannah Takes the Stairs and thinks, "Oh, that speaks to me"? I watched it and it made me want to kill five puppies.

Then I watched it again. Seriously, Hannah Takes the Stairs looks like the worst movie ever made.

UPDATE: But here are some trailers for movies I am anxious to see:

There Will Be Blood (PT Anderson, amazing)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (great trailer)

No Country for Old Men (link updated with red-band trailer)

Eastern Promises (Cronenberg)

Cassandra's Dream (Woody Allen--inscrutable trailer but should be great)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Last night I went to a Rupert Thomson reading at McNally Robinson. He was quite good and I'll probably read his new novel. Then there was a discussion between Thomson and Maud Newton, which was good. I wandered away for a minute, found some copies of my book, and signed it. Then I came back and listened to the rest of the talk. After it was over, I suddenly noticed Richard Grayson in the audience. I went over to say hi, and then I met Maud for the first time in person. That was cool. She is cool. Then Richard introduced me to Edward Champion, another person I had corresponded with (and "guest-blogged" for repeatedly) but never met in person. We talked about Martin Amis and Ed's excellent interview with him. Then a person next to Ed was introduced by someone: "This is Matthew Cheney." Matthew Cheney reviewed Fires in Rain Taxi. It was a smart, pretty accurate review. Then Ed introduced the woman standing next to him: "This is Sarah Weinman." The entire crowd was composed of people whose names I knew and who knew my name but who I had never met in person. I talked to Sarah for a bit. There are some people who just have an encyclopedic knowledge of serial killers. I am almost one of those people. Sarah Weinman is one of those people. Afterward, I went home and took a little nap and woke up too late to go to my friend's birthday thing, as I had intended to do. Sorry, man.

Also, last night I had a dream that life on earth was about to be wiped out. We had about a day left.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

what to wear during an orange alert has a good name and interviewed me.

Huh. I went--well, was taken--to this spa one time. It didn't really seem weird. But I'd never been to a spa before and haven't since. Massages hurt.

Moving quickly all day today--and awake since 3 a.m. I can't get my sleep schedule right. I get it for a week and then it's fucked again.

I updated the description of Midnight Picnic.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A new Impetus Press release, We Go Liquid, is available for pre-order on Amazon. I've read it and it's very good.


Some highly pleasing new old fiction. For you to read and enjoy.


If you haven't read the Richard Preston article in last week's New Yorker, do. My dad pointed it out to me the other day. It's about a bizarre syndrome that causes people who suffer from it to mutilate themselves (biting off their own lips, compulsively putting their fingers in their mouths and gnawing them off) and also to do self-defeating, perverse things, like shout "fuck you" and "eat shit" to people they like. (One way you can tell if people who suffer from this syndrome dislike you is if they're being nice to you.) Most die young but some live to be adults. Some self-enucleate--pull their own eyes out.

If you don't have access to the article, email me. I made a .pdf.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I reviewed a very interesting novel called In Her Absence.


Today is a horrible, disgusting day in New York City. It is muggy and sick and nauseating. The trains are broken. I was stuck on one for forty minutes this morning, and in the sickening subway station for twenty minutes before that. Started throwing up shortly after I got off, totally nauseous. I'm still sick now. My stomach feels like a shark fin keeps cutting through it. Back at home, trying to sleep.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I never sleep. The weekend was long. A bit of waiting in airports with rain all over the windows. I saw my parents and brother and went to the movies and we drove around in the fog a little and ate ice cream. Yesterday I stayed home sick. Read some books, did some writing. Midnight Picnic is (for me) a good thing to play with, a pleasure to touch and reshape. I'd like to go swimming. I'm listening to Lou Reed's Berlin right now, which is amusingly dour.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Midnight Picnic

A good thing: looks like Impetus Press will be publishing my next novel, Midnight Picnic, in or around May 2008.

Midnight Picnic is a ghost story, sort of. It has a skeleton being found on a lake shore after a storm, an old man who lives in the woods for twenty years, a depressed girl who sits in a bathtub, a bored lap dance from a stripper in New Orleans, and a road trip through the afterlife.

It is a (mostly) linear novel, but its "plot" is not normal.

Some early excerpts from Midnight Picnic:

atlantic city

shoals of ghosts


ocean that moves around

fast food restaurant

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mammals + HP interview + sex & IQ + crustaceans

I have a story on Identity Theory today.


Posted an in-depth, professional, hard-hitting interview with literary wunderkind Helen Oyeyemi on the Huffington Post. (Apparently "the cut-and-paste Gchat aspect of it didn't go over well" with the Huffington Post editors, however...too bad!)


Sex and intelligence. I mean, this is kind of intuitively plausible for the high school set. Certainly it reconciles comfortably with my experience/observations. Some of the data that appears later seems a little bizarre, though--only 56% of Princeton undergrads have had sex? Only 59% at Harvard? Difficult to believe.


There's general agreement: the third Bourne thing is fucking awesome. And it is.


I'm leaving town briefly this weekend to go see family, mostly because I want to go to the movies with my little brother. Talked to Impetus yesterday--they've signed a bunch of new authors. More news soon. Lot of free food lately.