brothercyst: November 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Well, Jackie tells me that you have been pre-ordering Midnight Picnic from the Word Riot site. Good job, readers. For those who haven't, consider it--buying directly from the (independent) publisher avoids the "Amazon skull-fuck." That's what independent publishers call it. You don't want that to happen to independent publishers, do you? Books are nice Christmas presents. (I'm getting a book and a shirt, I think. My family's poor this year!)

I finished another draft of that novel about the nervous breakdowns, now time to let it sit for a bit (which means send it to the one person who can see my shitty first/second/third drafts... the one person... please live forever, B) and then fuck with it some more. I cut like 10,000 words and wrote some new scenes and restructured most of the first section.

Tomorrow: Thanksgiving with blood relations. Food, rest, calm.

God, the days lately are insane. I shut down my brain and play the same adrenalized rap song over and over again as I massage numbers and cell comments and =sum( formulas in excel spreadsheets for hours. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!


The final episode of The Shield was on tonight.

NY Times
("The episode is one of the truly great finales in TV history, and - like "The Shield" itself - a towering achievement for this medium.")
Chicago Tribune ("I don’t really know how any show could come up with an ending any better than “The Shield’s” final outing.")
Salon ("Holy mother of all finales!")

Now that they can't drop the ball, it's official:

Favorite show of all time, hands down.

Monday, November 24, 2008


It's so cold outside my testicles hurt just thinking about it. And Tom wants to go to a movie! Anyway, I am back in the city. Reading something called Hollywood Animal, one of the more criminally entertaining things I've read in a long time. Did a lot of revising this weekend.

Probably this will be a terrible movie, but that water... I've had nightmares exactly like that.

Story in New Haven Review, a literary magazine run by Brian Slattery. This story has been floating around for a while and is finally published. It was nominated for Best New American Fiction 2006. It's called "The Thickness of Clown Blood." You can download it here. They called me a "short story master"... this is an unsubstantiated claim and has never been made before, by anyone... it is a quark-claim. (I'm so flattered!!) And the non-me sections of the issue look pretty great...

Issue #3 of New Haven Review is available in full PDF glory here. It features terrific stuff from Jess Row, one of Granta's "Best Young American Novelists"; legendary cult-fave writer Jim Knipfel; Willard Spiegelman, editor of Southwest Review, whose new book is forthcoming from FSG; poets George Witte and Ian Ganassi; photographer Desirea Rodgers; short story master Nick Antosca; and essayists Joy Ladin and Stephen Ornes. It's our best issue yet (although the other two were pretty decent, if we may say so).

And a review of GUD #3.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008


EDIT: Looks like they're sold out at Powell's already? Maybe they'll get more, I don't know.

about to depart, but first a note:

"Rat Beast" sold out at ML Press, but you can buy it for $2 now, for a limited time, from

Buy "Rat Beast" from Powell's here. I'm not sure if the $2 includes S&H, like it did from the publisher.

Even better idea--pre-order Midnight Picnic from Word Riot Press.

My stomach is knot of stress. I'm getting everyone oranges for Christmas.


The guy in the bloodstained pants slaughtering turkeys behind Palin, grinning at the camera. Wow.

And listen to these two early songs by Charles Manson.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Mountain of smoke from an overturned New Jersey tanker, seen from my office window, this afternoon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Grimness. I might have to go out of town for a few days. Better to think of distracting things.

Like how good the penultimate episode of The Shield was. The plot is so labyrinthine now that there are some inevitable holes (didn't the feds want to know what Vic wanted immunity for??), but the brilliant character writing makes up for it ten times over. Mackey's confession scene was incredible (as this guy orgasmically gushes), and I love the perversity of the scenario the show's writers managed to set up: Anything Mackey can confess to, he gets immunity for, and any falsehood in the confession invalidates the immunity, so he has to fully confess, in one sitting, to every crime he's ever committed. Multiple murders, torture, everything. Brilliant episode, one of the best ever, great last line: "I've done worse."

Last night was surprising. Got free bottle of absinthe at the Moth Ball. Worked on Strangelets late night. Had healthy conversations.

I have a huge crush on L.A. attorney Allison Margolin. Look how stoned she is in her self-promotional video!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The dread-to-pleasure ratio of the emails and phone calls I received today was not good. Generally frightening things are happening. But some good. I got an email forwarded by an editor... an author I admire wrote to him about me... I exist.

Also, J.A. Tyler read and enjoyed Midnight Picnic.

Also, here are HTMLGIANT reviews of the three new MLP press chapbooks, including "Rat Beast."

Here's another person who read and liked "Rat Beast."

And another, JSS from the UK, who blogged about Midnight Picnic also.

Thank you for reading, readers.

My friend Rob Spiro won a Hawaiian dance competition against MC Hammer the other day. This is true. He's in a tech start-up and MC Hammer has started a tech start-up and they were at a conference where that was one of the activities.

Last night I went to Momofuku Ko. Outside of New York this means nothing to anyone. It was delicious.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Midnight Picnic begins with a dog being crushed but surviving.

I love dogs.

When I was a kid I rolled over on a dog while I was asleep and to this day I have a small scar on my face from that incident.

Today has been fairly stressful day with too many phone calls of a bad nature, but this dog video cheered me up:

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Amazing images of the fires in Los Angeles. Jesse is out there right now & just called me about the fire. I looked at a lot of pictures like this when I was writing/researching Fires. Just the other day I wrote a new fire story, "Playground in the Fire." I need to send that out. I'm lazy. Read Young Men and Fire. It's one of my favorite nonfiction books.


Okay, fine, don't ever comment on my posts. I know from statcounter that 60-100 unique visitors come to this blog every day, but I have the anxious suspicion that most are people who hate me and just lurk to see if I have disgraced myself in some way or lost my shit.

I had lunch today with another writer and we talked about an idea and I am always shocked when I remember how good it feels to get excited about an idea and go with it. So good. Better than any drug, better than sex, better than anything else. Just had a glimmer of that today, that stirring of memory, where it's like, Yeah, I know that feeling.

I got my Mud Luscious Press books today, including "Rat Beast." They look good. You can (maybe) still get a copy of "Rat Beast" for $2! I'll read and comment on the Blake Butler and Brandi Wells editions soon.

So many people come up to you when you're carrying Infinite Jest around. When waiters are like, "That's my favorite book, I've read it three times," and you're struggling around pg. 350 of a 1,000 page novel, it's amusing/humbling.

Friday, November 14, 2008


So last night I went to see Karan Mahajan read from his new book Family Planning at KGB Bar. I read the novel in an earlier draft and it was excellent. It's about a man in the Indian government who is only sexually attracted to his wife when she's pregnant, and so he keeps having children with her. In addition to begetting a huge brood, he's also responsible for the proliferation of flyovers throughout Delhi... flyovers being weird, half-completed overpasses that ripple the landscape and never seem to get finished, although they keep getting funded. It's also about his oldest son, who learns some things about his past and nurses persistent issues regarding his parents' marriage. Themes include Bryan Adam, pregnant sex, secrets parents keep from children, secrets children keep from parents, and comic absurdity of Indian politics. Highly recommended.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I have an excessive number pillows on my bed. Mostly blue or black. I buy new ones on a pretty regular basis. I like to have a sort of large nest to sleep in, and I like to sleep only when incredibly tired and, if alone, fully dressed. For example, I'll sit in the living room (so I will be less inclined to sleep) writing on my laptop until very late at night/early in the morning, until I'm so tired I'm wobbly-feeling, with the world kind of queasily moving in the manner of an egg yolk. Then I'll move quickly into the bedroom, turn the heat on, fall into the bed fully clothed (usually wearing jeans and several shirts) and lose consciousness almost immediately. My insomnia has almost completely disappeared since the summer.

Last night, I stayed in the living room writing and reading, sitting up with the light on, and the world did not turn egg yolky and I didn't get so tired I had to collapse. So, I stayed up all night, and now I'm here, awake, and I went swimming and feel simultaneously very awake and very tired, and I seem to see the world through the body of a jellyfish.

Midnight Picnic, my "second" novel, is at the printer. Pre-order Midnight Picnic from Word Riot. You'll like it.

"Rat Beast" is either sold out or almost sold out. Order "Rat Beast" for $2, including shipping.

Karan Mahajan reading tonight at KGB, go see that. Outline to write, multiple outlines, Strangelets to write. Infinite Jest to read. 2666 to read. New York Tyrant party to go to? Essay to write. Also I am a subject in a clinical study involving sleep disorders?? For which I will be paid. I wrote a new story called "Playground in the Fire" but I thought of something about it and I need to revise it. Also, a reptile is bleating confusedly at me. (Reptiles can bleat.) It always seems to be the case that when someone is being a reptile to you, you are, in a different realm of your life, being a reptile to someone else, so there is cruel balance in the universe.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I do not deny that I am a reptile.

Monday, November 10, 2008


*Mediabistro post on publication of Midnight Picnic.

*This blogger read a galley.

*KGB reading January 9.

*Pre-order Midnight Picnic

*Buy "Rat Beast" for $2 (including shipping!) before supplies sell out.


Ned Vizzini writes a really good appreciation post about, yes, Michael Crichton. When I was a little kid, I loved Congo, Jurassic Park--and especially Sphere. Later, when I got more "literary," I didn't like Crichton anymore. On occasion, I made fun of Ned for liking Crichton. I was wrong. Sphere is fucking good.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


from falling on the ice. And all my muscles are sore, and there's a blood bruise on my palm. Soreness is from skating and from I don't know what else, maybe doing pull-ups on a random pull-up bar in someone's doorway? I read Consider the Lobster, which Alison gave to me and which is very good.

I got 2666, which got the ultimate book review in the New York Times, at its release party. Do other people like BolaƱo? I started By Night in Chile and didn't like it.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


I have a short novel, MIDNIGHT PICNIC, and a short story, "RAT BEAST," being published soon. Both are available for pre-order from the publishers.

MIDNIGHT PICNIC will be published on December 15 by Word Riot Press (it was pushed back from its original Oc 31 Impetus Press release). You can pre-order it here directly from the publisher for $15.95. (Do not pre-order it from! That Amazon page is obsolete and there will be a new one soon.) MIDNIGHT PICNIC is a ghost story.

"RAT BEAST" is a short story being published as a limited edition chapbook by Mud Luscious Press. It costs $2 (including shipping) so it is basically free. Pre-order it here. It's good. I strongly recommend this.

Thank you,

Friday, November 07, 2008

Word Riot to publish Midnight Picnic on Dec. 15th

More info here (press release).

Pre-order Midnight Picnic from Word Riot Press here (do it).

It's better to buy it from the publisher.

I'm glad to announce that Jackie Corley and Word Riot Press are going to publish Midnight Picnic, and it will be delayed less than two months. Pleasing! The release date will be December 15th.

Jackie took this project on fast and I'm really impressed.

More to come.


I just got back from ice skating in Bryant Park with Tom and Clare. It hurt. I have never been skating before. People were having fun but every once in a while we'd skate by a dent in the ice that had fresh blood in it (really). It took me a long time to be able to skate all the way around without touching the wall. I did it. Then I fell--the kind of hard fall that makes your ears fill up with cotton and disables your equilibirum and you feel like throwing up. I got up and skated around again until I got to the gate and I left the ice. By this time I was drenched in sweat. I sat on a bench beside the ice and took my shirt off because I was so soaked. (Sorry for toweling myself off with your nice red scarf, Clare!) Tom took his shirt off in solidarity. Here's a picture Clare took of us (and a confused little child) before the people in charge told us to put our shirts back on.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


- rat beast -

I stayed up all night last Thursday and (in addition to completing many other tasks, like writing a budget and responding to a million emails) wrote a story called "Rat Beast." It will be published as a short chapbook by Mud Luscious Press. pre-order here for $2, including shipping, I think.

You should definitely buy chapbooks from Mud Luscious Press. It is run by J.A. Tyler and it publishes very short, digestible stories from excellent indie-based writers (like Blake Butler, Shane Jones, etc.--see them all on the Mud Luscious site). If you buy "Rat Beast," I think you will enjoy it. It costs $2! That's basically the same as free.

On Sunday night I stayed up all night and wrote a short story (both of these stories were very short) called "Playground in the Fire."

- midnight picnic -

I signed a contract today for Midnight Picnic. We'll announce soon who'll be putting it out.

And Impetus has passed on; so it goes. I've been in touch with Willy Blackmore pretty consistently since I heard the news and it seems he's been dealing with the fallout heroically. I feel bad for their other authors, especially those whose books were scheduled to come out next year or in the indefinite future.

- swedish vampires -

I saw Let the Right One In. Watch the wonderful trailer. The film is good, it's elementally discomfiting. It's an art movie, a vampire movie, a love story, and a movie about how violence gets passed on. The whole time, I was going, "This is very good, it's interesting and strange, I don't love it, but it's really really good." And then comes the last scene, which is the single best bullies-get-their-comeuppance scene I have watched. It happens suddenly and perfectly and is over fast. It's sick and wrong and profoundly, profoundly cathartic.
Pre-order my 9-page chapbook, "Rat Beast," from Mud Luscious books. It costs a total of $2, so it's basically free. I promise it's good. More on this to come.


Spent the weekend in Pennsylvania, going to door to door. Went with Bess, Ryan, Brian, Nicole, and Alison. We saw a stag in a suburban backyard. Alison and I went to one house where a sad-looking woman with lank hair sighed, not threateningly, almost apologetically, "Oh, you're at the wrong house. My mother will beat you with her cane." An elderly woman doddered out of a back room with a walker. "Mom," the first woman said, "do you want to beat these people?"

Here are some pictures.

Bess and Alison

Alison, me, Nicole, Brian

suburban stag

very weird window

me taking a rare break

Yesterday during the day I was agitated and unable to pay attention to anything. I was literally covered with sweat all day. (This may have had something to do with the wakefulness drugs I took to stay awake on recent nights; I've slept an average of 3 or 4 hours a night since last Thursday. But it was mostly genuine anxiety.) Then tonight I went to the Huffington Post's election returns party. It was one of the happiest/most exciting parties I've ever been to. It was fucking exuberant.

After the party, we went out onto the street. Cars were rushing by blaring their horns and people were screaming out of their windows. I wandered around SoHo for a long time before I went home. Screams all over the place. Finally I went into the subway, where, perfectly, a team of workers were hosing all the accumulated grime and trash away.