brothercyst: October 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008


Leaving town shortly to do campaign work in Pennsylvania. Not confident about an Obama election.

  • Eventful week what with sudden death of Impetus Press.
  • Plans underway for Midnight Picnic to be published, possibly before the end of 2008, by another press. Willy Blackmore has done a lot here. Announcement forthcoming assuming all goes well/things are signed.
  • I saw Darling Darling this week, one of the most excellent short films I've ever seen.
  • Saw Pride and Glory this week; it was decent.
  • Wrote a new (very) short story called "Rat Beast" last night.
  • Applying for this fucking grant that I neglected until it was way, way late. If the application doesn't arrive at the place in the mail by tomorrow, I'm disqualified.
  • I seem to have lost time like I have a hole in my pocket. I have no time left lately.
  • Read the David Foster Wallace article in Rolling Stone.

"Soon... the aliens are coming." What the... I forgot about this! An animated trailer for a short story I wrote a while ago that was published by the weird, cool GUD magazine (they pay):

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

R. I. P. Impetus Press (UPDATED)

More on this, and the fate of Midnight Picnic, later.

UPDATE: FYI, it appears that another small press has stepped up (rather quickly) and would like to publish Midnight Picnic. If so, there will be a delay as ISBN numbers and colophons are changed, and then an official announcement.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008


I apologize if I haven't responded to your emails or done something I said I was about to do. I will do it soon. If I do not do it because so much time has passed that I have forgotten about it or because to do it now would be somehow worse than not doing it at all, I apologize in advance.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I feel neutral, but in a bad way, which means the neutral feeling is just a cover for a bad feeling. I've been away all weekend in Massachusetts, which was nice. Fascinating times. Lobster, music, writing, walking on pleasantly chilly beach. Got very bad news on the way up but put it on mental hold. Read more Infinite Jest.

photo by Richard Berger, taken from the ferry this weekend and not altered

Monday, October 20, 2008


Saturday productive; Sunday unproductive. I saw W.; it sucks. Freaked about getting references for a grant I probably will miss the deadline for. Saw friends; rewrote much of Strangelets. I'm trying to read Infinite Jest from beginning to end now. I read J.A. Tyler's The Girl in the Black Sweater; enjoyed it; fervid, intense. Somehow caused a terrible scene late last night that resulted in lots of crying; WHY CAN'T PEOPLE BE MORE DISPASSIONATE? Everyone is looking at me like this:

I am involved in a reading this Wednesday at Bluestockings Books with Jackie Corley and Marty Beckerman. Probably some other ones soon. You can pre-order Midnight Picnic but the date is wrong, it's not out yet. I don't know why the date is wrong. It should be available in early November. And there should be, like, a cover picture up. I feel like people have masks on when they talk to me; I'm feeling puzzled/disgusted today.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I seriously do not know what the fuck is going on right now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I just rewrote a scene for like the twentieth time. The more times you rewrite something, the greater the interval of time it takes afterward to decide if it's any good or not.

Went swimming. I'm wearing a shirt that's not a color I normally wear; I feel like a different person. I feel inclined to be a different person. I'm annoyed. I have too many business cards on my desk. THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS THAT SHOULD BE HAPPENING NOW AND ARE NOT HAPPENING. Fuck.

Midnight Picnic will exist soon.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I went to Brunswick High School, a public school in Maryland. Charles Murray, the father of one of my high school friends, recently wrote a book about education. In the book, he briefly mentioned three great teachers from Brunswick, one of whom, Frank Booth, is the dedicatee of my first novel, Fires. Booth was the reason I got into Yale and has been the most influential person in my life not related to me by blood. Here's an interesting, rather sad piece from the Washington Times in which Charles Murray writes about where Booth and the two other teachers he names, both of whom I remember well, are now.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Oh no! Can this be true? I hope it isn't. Tomas's dilemma in The Unbearable Lightness of Being seems a little... false, if so. Have you seen The Lives of Others? It's very good.

Friday, October 10, 2008


This has been an exciting week. I'm glad I live on Wall Street, although it's awkward to get around because of all the blood. There is a lot of fresh, fresh blood all in the streets, basically lakes of it, up around my shins and knees. Some of it is my blood. For whatever reason, I don't feel particularly bad or all that worried about it though. People live in poverty; I can't complain. But it isn't just that I feel fatalistic. I feel... what's the word... sanguine.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I'm alone in a very tall building right now. The lights are off and I'm listening to Terry Riley's Requiem Quartets performed by the Kronos Quartet. From the window I can see huge buildings and brightly lit avenues and even New Jersey in the distance. Everything looks very eerie. I just wrote some of Strangelets. I lost a lot of money in the stock market, but that's okay. It feels funny to say that, "I lost a lot of money in the stock market." I think that sentence means I'm an adult. The stock market crash is exciting and I hope it crashes a lot more before the election. Who knows what will happen. Richard Fuld's testimony before Congress was fascinating. He snarled. He said, "Until they put me in the ground, I will wonder." It made me admire him a little.

Midnight Picnic layout is done. I know, it's late. But that's how this works. It looks good. If you want to review it somewhere, email me for a galley. Midnight Picnic. I want to give a copy to Stephen King. I read a lot of Stephen King books when I was young. If you know Stephen King, tell him.

Here's the first page of Midnight Picnic. Click to enlarge.


Yes! Good job, Obama campaign.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Yesterday was a day that started out nastily, got worse, settled into bitterness, and then got good. I woke up and tried to get on the train, but my metrocard didn't work. I tried to buy a new one with my "Etrac" credit card, but it only had $79 on it and I needed $81 but I'm not allowed to put $2 extra on it. So I had to pay $81 out of pocket and fill out various forms and mail them off in order to get the $79 sent to me in check form. Then I had to buy a plane ticket but the website wasn't working. I went swimming and it calmed me a little, but then I ran into an ex-girlfriend I didn't want to see. Then I heard some unrelated terrible news. And my phone kept ringing at work, and intolerable emails kept arriving. I felt like I wanted to be that kid in that story who has a hammer and just beats things with it. (Bunnies and cats, I think?) Then the sun started to go down and I got calmer and ordered food (salmon, vegetable dumplings... I might be going vegetarian--though I will still eat fish). I wrote. I looked out the window from 40 stories up with the lights off and music playing; it was calming. My friend CB called and I said I was in a strange mood and we decided to go to the former Hotel QT and swim. It felt pleasing. "We don't get wet enough," CB said. "In daily life. We should spend more time in water." (I already spend a lot of time in water.) If you lie flat on the water in a swimming pool and roll over again and again, you feel really strange. I recommend it. We sat in the steam room for a long time. I was incredibly relaxed. Then we took the train home. Everything was all right by 0:01 AM.