brothercyst: March 2009

Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Wow, everybody finished or is finishing new manuscripts as of... now. I've got a new first draft of something (prob needs another year of work or something) and at the same time that I told a couple of peers about it, they sent me their new novels that were like, literally finished the same week. So I got a stack of novels to read. Plus some scripts. Also I'm looking for this new apartment... it's not urgent yet... I've seen a couple beautiful places but nothing yet that I loved and had to have and sort of fantasized about myself living in when I saw it. Why can't I get Sharon's sorbet anymore? Why doesn't my grocery or Whole Foods carry it anymore?

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Now I'm in that foggy swamp where I'm not sure what to work on. Ideas, nothing falling into place, just laying around working a few minutes on this, a few minutes on that. I just discovered Burger Shoppe, an awesome, well, burger shop in the financial district, but like everything else here, it's fucking closed on Sunday. So I got a burger from somewhere else, and it was pretty gross. I want to live near other things. My lease is up soon. I'm looking for a new apartment actively. Either alone or with roommates.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Lungfull! Party in April

Welcome to the interesting times we were warned about living in.
On Saturday April 18 at 6:45 they get a whole lot more interesting...


Join us as we usher in the latest issue AND a new era of shantytowns
decorated with the discarded blackberries of vanquished bankers,
& the quaint but worthless wallets of laid off ad men.

At the event, pick up the latest issue of LUNGFULL!
-- perhaps the last which will be available for "money" --
next year bring a pair of shoes and some fried squirrel,
someday you'll point to your copy of LUNGFULL and
dazzle your kids with stories about paying for things
with little plastic rectangles and pieces of paper.

200 pages of poems, fiction, rough drafts, art, world news reports,
irate letters to the editor. A complete list down below.

Saturday 4/18 at 6:45pm
Zinc Bar
82 West 3rd Street NYC
Between Sullivan and Thompson
Subway ACEBDQF to West 4th RW to 8th or Prince
$5-15 sliding scale fundraiser. $20 gets you in plus a copy of the magazine.

Madoff Victims and AIG Excs willing to divide their bonuses among the audience get in free.

Still reading this invitation?

Good, now that it's just the two of us, I can further invite you
to hit the (relatively) TOTALLY NEW

• sneak preview of the upcoming issue.
• video for those too drunk/lazy to read
• explanation of why the crash is a good thing
• because LUNGFULL receives state money, full financial dislosure. Main sources of income: buying beer for teenagers at the bodega and stealing old people's medicine to resell to poets. Cost saving measures: eating coworker's lunch - just click on "budget" for more.
If won't run on your broke down computer, upgrading's never been easier now that looting is the new paypal.
Pick up a new hi-def TV and homemade ice cream maker while you're out.
Some people came to New York to make a buck. Others to live a creatively fulfilled life. With no money left to be made, anyone left is either a chump or a creative genius. In either case, you'll feel right at home at the LUNGFULL! RELEASE GALA AND NEW NEW DEAL PARTY.

Many of the following contributors will be there, singing or reading a poem or two.
New writing from:
Matt Hart, Jessea Perry, Sam Magavern, Nathan Hoks, Nick Antosca, David Berrigan, Bradford Gray Telford, Sean Kilpatrick, Stephanie Cleveland, Rebecca Loudon, Anthony Farrington, Elizabeth Hughey, Craig Cotter, Duane Vorhees, Todd Colby, Jeni Olin, Chris Martin, Scott Abels, Eugene Ostashevsky, Fred Schmalz, Lee Ranaldo, Noelle Kocot, Will Morris, Marianne Vitale, Mike Topp, Clnt Frakes, Kevin McWha Steele, Suejin Suh

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Spike Jonze and beasts!


Tom just got back from India and wrote a predictably funny blog post about it (stop being so predictable Tom), which includes some pretty good advice for "you Young Writers."


Oh... oh good. Yeah. Don't pass congestion pricing. Just do this new thing that makes everyone miserable and costs us lots more money.

Another picture from Where the Wild Things Are:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I'm happy for a moment. Good news this morning.

Plus, I got two hats.

Oh, and today the Harlem Shakes Technicolor Health is out. Their lead singer Lexy Benaim is a good friend of mine, and the album is excellent. Go buy it.

Also, buy Midnight Picnic. It's good!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"the goodness of children is a function of the weakness of their limbs, not the strength of their conscience"

This blog, And Now the Screaming Starts, has a really good summary/assessment of Midnight Picnic, making a couple very apt points that I think no one else has (despite the occasional transposition of some letters in my last name). Review contains the great St. Augustine paraphrase that is the title of this post.


I spent the last two months (Jan 15-March 16) working hours and hours every day on the thing I'm working on, and now I'm in a sort of recovery mode. Just tired all the time. Sort of listlessly laying in bed today, still in boxer shorts. Re-reading The Magus. Reading some Brian Evenson. Saw Duplicity last night. Intelligent but deeply unsatisfying. The end sucks. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts are just not appealing.

Me: They both look old.

Friend: They look hot-old.

Me: Clive Owen looks hot-old. Julia Roberts looks like a shoe.

Friend: She does not look like a shoe!

Me: Her head does.

Friend: No... Sarah Jessica Parker's head looks like a shoe.

Me: Sarah Jessica Parker's head looks like a flat. Julia Roberts' head looks like a high heeled pump.


I've been spending almost no money lately. But I just ordered a lot of food. Multiple hamburgers with avocado, bacon, and cheese, plus some sort of "hedge fries" (don't know what that is). Going to eat it all myself in front of the TV, then do more revision on this manuscript.


Discovered an amazing yogurt: Liberte. Only buy the full fat kind. It's like ice cream, or delicious amazing thick whipped cream. Cheap and ridiculously good. The plum and walnut flavor and the passion fruit and peach flavor are the best. Pic stolen from this blog, which also has a passionate appreciation.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009


Had kind of an up and down evening--saw my dad's concert at Le Poisson Rouge which went great but then I got kind of sick from Mexican food and came home and had one of those perspiring/vomiting hours and then slept for a bit and woke up. But now what do I see?...


I want it now.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I love that this guy uses the "taking candy from a baby" analogy to mean exactly the opposite of what it's supposed to mean.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


First couple days this week were death, I wanted to peel my face off. Got a handle on it now though. Almost the weekend. Want to write thousands of words.

My dad will be in New York this weekend to do some concerts. One at Issue Project Room (saturday) and one at Le Poisson Rouge (sunday).

Last night I saw Sugar, the new movie by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the folks who made Half Nelson. It was really strong. Algenis Perez Soto, the guy who plays the main character, is excellent.

I'm writing a short story about pot-smoking rabbits. Then I'm writing a short story about a guy who just keeps burying people in the back yard.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Wow... this is fuckin' awesome. Absolute must-read for anyone writing screenplays.


Yeah, today was a bad, weird day. Last night I took a long nap and woke up at midnight, so I couldn't get to sleep until 5 am. Then, even though I set my alarm, I woke up at 10:30. I had a meeting at work at 11 and it takes me exactly 30 minutes to get to work. Waking up and realizing what time it was, I bolted up and forward so fast that I was somehow sitting at the foot of my bed. I sat there dazed for moment in my boxers. I could feel something was wrong but I wasn't sure what. I tried to raise my right arm. I looked at my right arm. I made a real effort to raise it. It wouldn't move. I actually thought I was having a nightmare. I tried to lift it again and it still wouldn't move. Slowly, carefully, I rocked the elbow backward. I elevated it that way. Slowly, slowly, I elevated the arm. Once it was up, I could move it around again. I lowered it, raised it, lowered it, raised it. It was fine. I threw my clothes on and raced to work.
The meeting was inhumane for reasons I won't describe. Then I had to deal with endless stupid shit by email. My mind nearly boiled and I escaped briefly to swim. Then I wrote a document so exciting I wanted to slit my brain. (Kidding! It was boring.) Then at 7 had a pleasant meeting about some writing stuff. Now I'm still at work. I stayed late to do some work and it's like, why go home? I'll just write here. Gotta be back in the morning anyway.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Guardian article on special edition re-release of Little, Big, which will eventually come out.

I really regret not asking Crowley to blurb Midnight Picnic. I should have done so.

Somebody I don't know wrote me a really sweet review on Amazon. Amazon reviews make me happy.

Really tired.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Long weekend of sorts, since I was out sick on Friday. Today I saw Watchmen. Its fidelity to the comic is remarkable. All the good parts of the comic are there--and so are all the shitty ones. (Except that ridiculous, out-of-nowhere squid. Good call getting rid of that.) Nite Owl and Ozymandias are dull characters, and their costumes look so absolutely stupid, it's a visual turn-off both in the book and the movie.

On the other hand, Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach are great. Rorschach in prison without his mask is one of the best sequences in the film. As is Dr. Manhattan's origin story and departure to Mars (with the Philip Glass score). Great stuff.

Much has been said about the sex scene. I liked it.

The end sucks.

This year so far has been good in terms of writing discipline. I've written every single day, except for the three or four days I was in L.A.

For some reason today I flashed back to Robb White's Deathwatch, a novel I read when I was 11 or 12 and liked a lot. I might pick that up again. I never realized they made a TV movie of it with Andy Griffith as the killer and Sam Bottoms as the hunted kid. UPDATE: It appears that the book, which I thought was pretty obscure now, is apparently quite popular.

Friday, March 06, 2009


David Smith of the NYPL gets written up in Gothamist, and gives me a shout-out in a list of authors he likes. Here's an NY Times article about Smith.


Blake Butler's NY reading for Ever (a strange, intense, lovely book) was last night. I was sick, didn't make it, and am disappointed, because it was very much a one-time event. Argh. I strongly recommend getting the book, though.


Did nothing today but lay in bed and recover.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


I contributed (late) to a review roundtable at Ed Champion's site on Eric Kraft's new novel Flying, a confounding and strange and sometimes excellent book that had the reviewers wildly divided. I was surprised at how many people seemed upset or frustrated by it, or dismissive, even though I had misgivings at first. But it's a fascinating book and I'd actually quite strongly recommend it to others, especially after thinking about it more.

Michael Mann's Public Enemies just went on the list of movies I most want to see.

Sick today, home from work. Oh well. Upheaval in life and in body.

Reading the David Foster Wallace stuff in the latest New Yorker. Only on the article, haven't read the fiction yet. Very fascinating.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009


I answered a few questions from Jurgen Fauth (what a cool name, right?) for the Fictionaut blog.

Fictionaut is a pretty interesting experiment. If you're a writer, go check it out. Online community-building for writers. A lot of potential.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


To the person from Louisiana who wrote to me about Midnight Picnic and other things: That was a very sweet email, and I got some sort of delayed delivery status notification on my response, so I'm not sure if it went through. You are correct about the "Perfection" quote.

Midnight Picnic, get it from the publisher, but review it on Amazon. (No one's doing this, oh well.) I have a story coming out soon in a new issue of Lungfull!

My mother emailed me to say she didn't throw away my John Holmes porn "documentary" DVD. So where is it?

Occasionally when I have horrifically busy days at work and all I'm doing in the evening is writing for hours, I just stay at work with my laptop and write after I finish working. Going home eats like at least ninety minutes, what with getting on the subway, flopping the couch, sighing, etc. I work more if I stay in the office. Then I sleep on the floor and wake up early and get a lot of day job work done. Last night at 5 a.m. I was still writing, and when I curled up on my office floor to go to sleep, I was too wired. So I drank a beer I had sitting around the office and curled up again and slept until 7:30 a.m. then went to the gym, swam, and took a shower. I felt kind of depressed and despondent when I was going to sleep last night, but it was really just because I hate work and I got some bad news yesterday, and in the morning I felt amazing. I'm not tired at all. Who's looking for a roommate in New York? I need to move somewhere cheap. (Or, alternately, anyone want to subsidize my life in L.A.?)

Monday, March 02, 2009


Money is a funny thing. I've never had lots of money at one time, relative to the people around me. (Having been at Yale and living in New York skews this, I realize.) It seemed like my family had money when I was a kid, and by the standards of a living in town that's built around some railroad tracks, we did. Right now, in the last few months, is the first time I've ever had a decent amount of money stashed away (as a result of having paid off my student loans w/ money from my day job, and then having saved up), and right now is the first time I've been really anxious about money, for obvious reasons.

Noah Cicero is freaking a bit, too, under rather different circumstances. I also read Noah's politically incorrect post about women from the other day, and while I think it oversimplifies, it does tie into something that I was thinking about, which is--how different is the experience of this depression for young women than young men? (I suppose I'm thinking about NY, mostly.) For a young woman, it's pretty easy to get someone to essentially give you money--in the form of goods. If you want a drink, you can go into a bar and be friendly and someone will buy you a drink; if you want an expensive dinner for free, you can let someone take you out and then you can stare distractedly in another direction when the check comes. Some men get angry about this and use terms like "dinner whore" or just "whore," but those comparisons are not only inappropriate but wrong, since there's nothing transactional in the behavior, although there may at times be something deceptive/manipulative. I wonder if many women are a) trying to take advantage of such opportunities more enthusiastically now; and b) finding it more difficult to do so.

A friend sent me this fascinating article by Gary Richardson about how he survived for many many years by basically living on imaginary money. The idea that money has become "information that you have money" is correct. That, I think, is one of the most obvious and fundamental lessons of the economic collapse that's happening now.

The other day I called my friend who understands economic theory better than I do and said something to the effect of, "There is, theoretically, a finite amount of money in the world, right? For example, the government should be able to tell you how many dollars exist? So how can there sometimes be 'so much more money' and sometimes 'so much less money'?"

It's an elementary school question but I was genuinely asking. He answered, sort of, but I can't remember what he said now--I think the thrust was that many things (like houses) were considered to have a higher value than they turned out to have. And stocks, which accounted for large chunks of so many people's "net worth"--they couldn't all have been "worth" that much, could they? Because not enough wealth existed to buy all of them at once.

But a prerequisite to accepting that concept is accepting the more basic concept that these days, "money" is the same thing as "information that you have money."


I'm exhausted. (That reminds me, whatever happened to my copy of the John Holmes "documentary" Exhausted? It's just sex scenes from his various porn movies intercut with a few chain-smoking, coked-out interviews, but it's what Boogie Nights was inspired by. It was in my old desk at home in Maryland, but that's not my room anymore and the desk is somewhere else. I bet my mom found it and thew it away.) The best thing about spending weekends largely indoors, working, is that they seem to last so much longer.

This weekend Laura Ellen Scott brought up me, Blake Butler, and Shane Jones at a panel at the Fiction Writing Seminar at George Mason University as examples of indie types using the internet & blogs to get stuff out there. This is very cool, and I'm glad. She apparently told them to google us, and they did, because I can see it on Statcounter now.

Elizabeth Hand blurbed Midnight Picnic and I knew that she wrote about it in Fantasy & Science Fiction, but I didn't know she had picked it as one of her best of 2008 (before it got pushed to Feb. 2009, obvs). I'd like to meet Elizabeth Hand sometime. Her writing is excellent and she has been really kind to this book.

It's so great to go back and read and watch something you loved as a kid and find it's not only as good as you remember in all the ways you thought, but it's better in other ways, too. (Like when I recently reread William Sleator's Singularity.) Built to last and so forth. Strong fundamentals. "Durable structure."

That is to say, John Carpenter's The Thing is an amazing movie.

And one of the best things about it is, after all the rising tension and violence and the climactic orgasm of Rob Bottin's monster-gore special effects, it has this elegantly eerie, minimalist ending that's just two guys in the snow, waiting to die.