brothercyst: May 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

I have a "tall tale" short story on The Barcelona Review. It has swans being guillotined, and a Boerboel.
With Marty Beckerman last night at Lolita. Young authors bitching, etc.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

publishing's a bitch

tonight i was talking to quite a few other writers--all young-ish novelists, none above their early thirties. some got rich deals for their first books; others, like me, published on independent presses for pretty much no financial reward. of them, only one has easily found a publisher for his/her most recent book. everyone is fatalistic and frustrated. i've got two new novels, one maybe novella, and maybe a collection. Midnight Picnic is written but rough. Strangelets doesn't exist beyond a few pages and may never, or may yet--too early to know. i think/hope Impetus will be publishing another of my novels. everything feels like thin ice and i feel largely indifferent, except that a) i want money and b) i want to write without any consciousness or consideration of money. see title of post.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Naming the two new Yale residential colleges. I like Nathan Hale College and Charles Ives College. I would definitely want to live in Charles Ives College. Or Coffin College--it would be great to have one called Coffin College.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Full house last night at KGB. Amy Fusselman (in blue) read accompanied by a monster truck video. Her new novel sounds good. I was jetlagged and sick and read briefly: just two elimae pieces from Midnight Picnic.

(Also: behold the site of our charming and charismatic hostess.)

Saturday, May 26, 2007


One of my third grade classmates picked up and read Fires. (I recall having a sleepover at his house once.) Yes, I found that post by blogsearching my own name. Jetlag has reawakened (so to speak) my insomnia. With a vengeance. It was gone for a while. I slept maybe an hour last night. Read a book. Watched TV. Considered the rational underpinnings of solipsism as a basis for a philosophy of how to live. Unsurprisingly I see none: even though it is theoretically rational to be agnostic about the existence of all things other than oneself* (just as agnosticism is the most rational religious philosophy), it is irrational for, ironically, reasons of self-interest to behave in practice as if nothing else exists**.

(That's assuming that if I believe my consciousness is all that truly exists, then self-interest becomes my only rational motivation for any behavior or decision. Which seems a correct assumption because if I'm the only thing that exists, what other interest could there be? Is it also correct to assume that instant gratification would then become a guiding principle of how to live? Perhaps not, because if "sooner" exists as a different thing than "later," then time exists, and that is something that is not my mind. That argument can be expanded to all qualia; even if I can't verify the existence of external forces, I still perceive them and feel their effects, which is why I prefer to have something I want "sooner" rather than "later." If I were fully convinced that nothing existed outside my mind [that everything was an illusion], and if my desires/perceptions could be made to obey my mental calculations, I would have no preference for anything at all. Therefore the most rational way to live with regard to the idea of solipsism, against which no ironclad empirical argument can be made, is nominal agnosticism toward the existence of all things outside the mind but practical acceptance of their reality as well as of the ability of other conscious beings to experience qualia. Which is in fact totally intuitive and most everyone except sociopaths does it without contemplation.)

* For the obvious reason that each quale, or individual experience, is available to one and only one consciousness. Am I wrong about this? Is there any example that contradicts this?

**For the even more obvious reason that such behavior would probably result in painful "real world" consequences, such as jail.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

still meandering in france, extremely sporadic web access

impetus sent me a link to the Dogmatika review of Fires

Sunday, May 13, 2007

rambling post about stuff; writing all this will distract me from anxieties about the manuscript i'm revising now

Unproductive yesterday. Ashamed. I had a lot of things I wanted to do--writing-related things, like writing--but first I wanted to go to the oyster bar with some friends. We went but it was 5:15 and the place didn't open until 6. So we went to the park until 6, and when we came back there was a line down the block to get in (they don't take reservations). They opened and the last people allowed in were the people right in front of us. FUCK. So we ate dinner elsewhere, but I was angry about not getting oysters and lobster--really irritable, irrationally so. So then we walked around and got more food and then back to my friend's apartment (by this time I should've been writing for an hour or so already) to smoke and watch TV. At last, when I was about to go home but still feeling weirdly rattled--inexplicably depressed, angry--I changed my mind and convinced my friend Tom to come swimming with me at the Hotel QT, which (it being Saturday night) would almost certainly be hosting a pool party.

So we get there, change into bathing suits, and go poolside. I look in the small pool, which is full of people, then take another look. "Tom," I say, "you realize what kind of party this is?" He says, "What?" "This is a gay party, Tom." The pool is full of men, and only men, splashing and hugging each other. They're...frolicking. "Is it?" he says. "I'm pretty sure," I say. Suddenly hands are touching our arms from behind. "Hey, I'm Philip," says a guy about our age. "Are you guys having fun?" "Oh--oh yeah," we say, nodding. And I guess we are. Despite our surprise. Philip gets in the pool. I call EJ, who lives a few blocks away and comes over looking remarkably alert/put-together. She seems classy and amused. This is fun. I should be writing. More people arrive and some are random and terrible--both male and female; not gay; overmuscled and dumb, resembling horses. I'm no longer sure why I wanted to do this; if we had gotten oysters like we originally planned I would have gone home immediately afterward.

Also, I went to a birthday party. I thought it was in a restaurant but no, it was a nightclub. I hate nightclubs. Every time I'm near the horrible greased hair, the upturned collars, the "gangsta" white and asian guys, my mind goes RED. Bathtubs full of acid. Feet, head, hands. This nightclub had women hanging from the ceiling:

The awful music nearly burst my eardrums. When I woke up this morning my right ear was actually in pain. Something's wrong with that ear and has been for a while.

At the time, though, the pain was mostly aesthetic. This is how I feel in nightclubs:

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A question.

Can you think of any excellent writer (someone you personally would consider exceptionally talented, perceptive, possessed of the capacity for profound insight) who has had an "easy life"? This is not a rhetorical question--I'm not trying to make a point about adversity building character or something--but a literal one. Not just a normal life, but a really easy one--born wealthy, no significant family tragedies, no persecution, no hardships. Is there anyone? Martin Amis, maybe?

[5/13 7:25 pm] A good friend argues that Shakespeare and Ray Bradbury might be said to have had lives like this.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Midnight Picnic. It exists. I wrote all the pieces separately and fit them together. It has a beginning, middle, and end. It's a short novel--I have another novel. Midnight Picnic.

Last night I wrote a 600-word short story that I like a lot. The title is "Tired." It has the Higgs Particle in it.

This morning I started writing a new project, a short novella I think, called Strangelets.

I'm excited about putting together a short story collection, too. Killing Old Friends and Family.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

For a few days if you looked at Fires on Amazon, there was no picture of the cover. But now it came back. I feel better about my life.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I'm putting together a collection of short fiction. I think it will maybe have five or six stories. I'm still deciding what stories to include. Killing Old Friends and Family will be the title, I think.

Some stories that might be in it:

"Winter Was Hard": Stabbing and drowning; revenge.

"Migrations": Aliens or something.

"Mammals": Serial killer who wins the Lotto.

"Burials": Helping dad kill a neighbor in the woods.

"Soon You Will Be Gone and Possibly Eaten": Aliens.

"Sexual Anthology": Sex, brain tumor, sexual fantasy about severed heads.

"The Early Years, Before His Great Adventures": Boerboel.

Maybe some others.

"Sexual Anthology" was published in New York Tyrant, "Mammals" is supposed to be on Identity Theory this summer, "The Early Years..." is supposed to be on The Barcelona Review soon, I think, and "Winter Was Hard" is supposed to be in a U.K. magazine called Short Fiction in the fall.

"Migrations," "Burials," and "Soon You Will Be Gone..." haven't been published or accepted anywhere. Someone should really publish them--I've been thinking about it, and I've decided that. That someone should publish them. Fiction editors of prestigious magazines, your attention please.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Something's bothering me and it's not something I can get rid of. It's entirely external. I'm waiting on the inclinations of others.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Little time, lately, to write anything here.

Watched two movies last night-- Vanishing Point and Gone in 60 Seconds (old version). Both pleasing. Saw excellent concert by the Corigliano Quartet; among the notable pieces were Black Bend by 23-year-old Dan Visconti (which, as promised, had "a lot of howling and a lot of wailing" skillfully rendered by violinists Michael Lim and Lina Bahn, viola-ist Melia Watras, and cellist Amy Sue Barston) and Corrie Q's Jigs and Reels (String Quartet No. 3) by Adam Silverman, which, despite its unfetching title, was expressive and delightful.


I think I'm having some kind of a breakdown...