brothercyst: September 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

Crowley writes on his blog about the reading last week, namechecks me. Right now I'm reading about the financial collapse of our society.
I just posted a quick thing about Sarah Palin on Huffington Post.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008


John Crowley and Marilynne Robinson's reading was tonight. It was good. Crowley read from his novel that comes out next summer, Four Freedoms. I'm not a particular fan of the title, but the book sounds pretty great. He read a section about one of the main characters, whose legs don't work from the knee down. Nonetheless, the man understands women very well and can interact with them and understand them in ways other men can't, and so he sleeps with a lot of them. The section--Crowley read for maybe thirty minutes--was funny, smart, appealing. Listening for that long takes concentration, though, and when Robinson came on, I had trouble paying attention. She read from Home, which has been highly praised. I should read Gilead. After the reading there was dinner. Some restaurant just nearby. As we walked to the table, one of the frail and pale waitresses stopped me and nervously, excitedly whispered, "The president of Bosnia is over there." "What?" I said. "Yes, him," she said, pointing at this man, who was seated casually behind us with three or four other men in dark suits and one cute young brunette woman in casual clothes. We ate some food, drank some, and left after an hour or so. Lajčák was now leaning on the chair beside his, his elbow resting on the back of it, his fist pressed into his cheek, his face, as Tom Wolfe would say, gloriously bored.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

You can't really tell, because I took it with my cell phone and the angle isn't helpful, but this is the side of a ten-story building on Canal and 6th Avenue. The Accompanied Literary Society set this up with flash fiction contributions from Jonathan Lethem, Gary Shteyngart, AM Homes, Paul Haggis, Colum McCann, Jay McInerney, and others. And then--you may be shocked to hear this--they threw a big party. It was a success.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


My dad's ensemble had a concert the other night, review in the Washington Post.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Last night I dreamed I was staying at a house in the woods. It was a big, well-appointed house. It was night. In the first part of the dream, there were huge, weird hogs in the woods. Gigantic, feral, filthy hogs. If you tried to leave the house, it was clear they would attack you. Everything was moonlit and strange outside. Somehow I managed to get away in a stranger's car. I drove for a long time down country roads flanked by grass so tall--taller than the car--that you couldn't see beyond it. Finally I came to a crossroads. I was sure that one road led to a small town, Burkittsville, near where I grew up. I took that road.

Then the second part of the dream began. Somehow I was back inside the house. It was still night. One or two other people were with me. The house was still in the woods but it seemed to be located differently... now, when I looked out the big glass doors in the back, I could see a long sloping yard that ended at the edge of a lake. There was a dock on the lake and two figures were standing on it. They were wearing cloaks and had masks or makeup on. They had rifles and, when they saw us in the glass, shot at us. We hid and turned off the lights. There were more people outside--four, not two--and they were all cloaked and costumed as animals or trolls. There was something familiar about them--their posture, the way they moved. We had to stay away from the windows and the glass or they would shoot at us. They were keeping us prisoner in the house but not approaching the house. It was still night. The inside of the house was dark because we didn't want them to be able to see us. In the corner of the living room there was a big, dirty, drying plant. The figures came closer and closer to the house.

Then it seemed to be a different night. Some time had passed and something had happened and we were relieved, laughing. The figures weren't outside anymore. They had come to the house and we had placated them somehow, or driven them away. Now we were laughing and eating. Then one of the other people who was there went sort of mischievously over to the big, dirty plant in the corner. He grabbed it and started sort of peeling it, and what emerged from it was himself, but now painted to look like a blue troll, and very devilish. He was no longer there, and the troll-version of him ran outside laughing, down to the lake, and stood where the other figures had been and started watching the house.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Weird mood continues. A very busy weekend. And a gorgeous one. Yesterday, Saturday, woke late and wandered in the sun, read parts of A Man in Full, which has a few astoundingly great scenes, like the one where the laid-off factory worker goes to Oakland to try and get a typing job--a euphorically good sequence. And the horse-breeding scene, also excellent. Sat in the park with a friend, randomly noticed that a person shooting a music video nearby was the Fred. Ate duck. Birthday party. Researched bifurcated vaginas. Spent most of today working on minor, grueling script revisions. Read more.

If you emailed me to ask for Midnight Picnic galleys, I will have them soon.

An Amazon seller has a copy of Fires listed for sale at $500. Hurry, before it's gone!

Saturday, September 20, 2008


John Crowley and Marilynne Robinson are reading this Thursday at 8 PM at the 92nd St Y. I'll be there.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Friday night, back at work. It has been a rollercoaster-y week. The script is written. I put all my money into index funds on Monday and Tuesday.* Working on other manuscript. I think I might sleep here tonight, on the floor.

Midnight Picnic is coming out soon. I feel anxious about it because I gave my galleys away. When Midnight Picnic comes out, I hope some people will read it. I feel restless with energy.

If you left me a voicemail this week and I haven't returned your call yet, I am truly sorry. (Except in one case. Do not leave me a voicemail asking to stay in my apartment if I don't know you and haven't responded to your earlier voicemails.) There is too much right now. Remembering everything I have to do is like herding cats. And books and the internet distract me.

Midnight Picnic.

UPDATE: It is 4:07 AM and I just got home from the office.

*Why is no one really commenting on the fact that the SEC just outlawed short-selling? What the fuck??? That's insane. It's not like I have a super-comprehensive understanding of how the stock market works, but... how the fuck is anyone supposed to get market-neutral now?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Greatest Ever

Old Master
James Salter

1,000 lb. Rabid Dog
James Ellroy

Sex Therapist Comic
Alicia Erian

Glum Sociopath
Bret Easton Ellis

Cold Dry Wit
Martis Amis

Hangdog Tomboy
Lorrie Moore

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Ed Champion posted remarks from writers about David Foster Wallace's death. Ed asked if I'd like to contribute and I declined. I replied:

"Thanks so much for asking me, but in this case I frankly don't feel able. I really don't know what to say--I've been less than well since I read about it last night. The idea that someone who *thought* so much concluded that he ought to hang himself is terrifying."

And that is still really all I have to say about it.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I was on and off depressed all Sunday about David Foster Wallace. That was truly a person who spent most of his time thinking. He even did a commencement address that was basically about How To Think. He was a compulsive thinker. And eventually he thought, "I'm going to hang myself." That makes me uncomfortable; I feel dreadful about it, actually.

Also, the financial world is collapsing. This morning I took all my money out of savings in order to throw it into the stock market.

I've had pains in my legs all weekend. They got worse and worse but now they seem to be better. On Sunday, Ned and I finished a draft of the script we've been working on. Then we drank a bottle of Champagne. I did not do enough thinking about Strangelets. There was some thinking done about a new project, Lesbian Die Hard in a Hotel Pool. My friend took me shopping. I show up on fundrace now. Reading A Man in Full. Anxious, very anxious.

Monday, September 08, 2008


I got a couple blurbs for Midnight Picnic in the last few days that I'm really happy about. (I still want David Lynch, but that might not happen...)


The epigraph for Midnight Picnic is from a poem by Valzhyna Mort, one of the weirdest, coolest poets I've met. She's reading this Friday in New York, and I'd be there if I weren't going to be in Massachusetts, but if you're looking for something to do in Brooklyn that night, you should consider going to the Poetry Brothel:

Friday September 12th (I'll be sharing the stage with all in peacock feathers Madame herself Stephanie Berger, Nicholas Adamski aka Tennessee Pink and others)
from 9 pm to 2 am (full bar, gambling and music)
Papa B Studios 907 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (sex and verse)

Cost 10 dollars, includes one free drink of absinthe and one free private poetry reading (yes, there are private readings for money there!)

Sunday, September 07, 2008


Any to be particularly excited about? Let me know.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Watch this music video. Directed by Philipp Mühlbauer. Song is "Export Tripoli" by Murena.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


I'm fond of GUD Magazine. You can buy a .pdf copy for $3.50 on their website and I encourage you to do so. Then you get to read my story about aliens, as well as a lot of other very good stories.

Monday, September 01, 2008


L.A. is an eerie place.

As soon as we left LAX we passed a gun range near Inglewood, I think, and decided to stop there. Let me tell you about the difference between gun ranges in New York and gun ranges in LA (based on the one time I've been to one in each city). In New York, they give you these light plastic rifles that could very well be BB guns, and the ammunition you fire is .22 bullets that are thin, tiny and look about as dangerous as a Frito. The gun--which is chained in place when you fire it--makes a little pop! noise, and you can't really see the hole in the target until you bring it back and look at it closely. Before you shoot, you take a half-hour class on how to use the gun safely.

In LA, they give you whatever gun you ask for--we got a .44 magnum ("Give us the most powerful handgun we can use") and some sort of powerful shotgun. Plus several of ammunition. And then we were ushered onto the range. There was no mention of safety, or of the safeties on the guns, or of how to load the guns. Apart from the NY .22 rifles, none of us had ever shot a gun before. The shotgun had two kinds of ammo, fierce and ferocious. When you fired the heavy duty ones, it made your teeth clank together and your body jerk back (shoulder soreness the next day) and, sometimes, the target go fluttering completely away in tatters.

That was pleasurable. The whole trip was pleasurable. It wasn't as pleasurable as the last one, which was just pure, almost unreal pleasure, but that was in part because everything was a first and weird, happy things just happened. Last time the purpose was 100% pleasure. This time it was 94% pleasure, 6% business. I wanted to do a lot of things (like go to a cemetery screening) that I didn't get a chance to do, but I did go to Venice, and I went to a party where I realized the person standing next to me smoking was, appropriately enough, MaryJane Watson, and I met and spent time with people whose company I enjoy. I also went to a 1920s themed party where people were dancing around in boas and drinking bathtub gin. By the very end, I started getting a little anxious.

On the plane home I managed to get an exit row seat. When I sat down there was this kid next to me who I kind of didn't want to sit next to because he looked like a stereotype of a football jock. And I wished I had picked the exit row seat behind mine since there were two pretty foreign students there. Then the football kid started talking to me and at first I smiled politely and didn't encourage him, but it seemed he really wanted to talk, so I got a little more engaged, and I learned that he was on his way home against Marine Corps orders because he wanted to see his pregnant girlfriend before he ships to Iraq in a week. Fucking scary. He said he was going to a place in Iraq called Korean Village where just a few nights ago a guard fell asleep and someone crept up and slit his throat. He was twenty years old and clearly scared, but also clearly, if not "smart" in the intellectual sense, pretty tough in a character sense--that is, capable of achieving significant things through sheer will that, for example, I would not be capable of. (Indeed, the contrast between what he was likely about to be doing--toting around and firing an assault rifle in defense of his life and his fellow soldiers' lives--and what I had so recently been doing--fucking around with a high-powered shotgun like it was a toy--was not lost on me, and didn't make me feel great.) He said he had been an honor graduate in the Marines, which 7 out of 750 soldiers get, and had turned down football scholarships all over the place to join the marines. I asked him about his political affiliations and he said he didn't care, and he liked doing what he was told, and he didn't plan to vote. I genuinely liked him as a person, I hope (as I told him) that he makes it through his seven month tour mentally and physically healthy, and I truly wish him the best. But man, on that last count, what a tool.