Monthly Archives: September 2010

stolen moments from margaret mitchell’s house

Hit by a car in Atlanta, ending her life, author of Gone With The Wind died young. Her apartment remains intact downtown, a memorial to her life of letters. I only managed to steal these photographs, and I wonder how strange it is to stare into a person’s cookbook and kitchen. How strange to see things left, supposedly as they were in life. If she was a writer like I am a writer, her kitchen would have a pile of dishes only tackled a couple times a week. Food would be piled everywhere, waiting to be eaten. When I am working, and I am generally always working, I do not want to play games with ingredients. 

I can’t imagine her putting her novel down, preparing an elegant dish requiring “Arrowroot Sauce” for her husband, then cleaning the kitchen top to bottom, and scrubbing the pots and mopping the floor.

This is not Margaret Mitchell’s house. This is just a dream of what a famous author’s life should be. Like all the silly kitsch of the fifties–the perfect dad with his perfect pipe and ascot, leaving everything to Beaver–the past must have been more real than this. Her busted ankle aching like devil’s fire in the sweltering summer heat, and she was typing away on the heavy metal keys. Need the windows open when it’s so hot, but the breeze could ruin everything–unsort 800 pages of life and death. And hot, hotter than any of us can imagine for days unending when all anyone had were little electric fans, cool drinks, and patience against the summer, and her ankle broken in a big, heavy cast making things worse, itching like crazy. The madness of the south, and the heat: that’s Scarlett O’Hara’s voice, Rhett Butler’s calm facade against the madness and the heat. Keep the windows closed against the disorderly work of wind upon the pages, and let it all be gone, gone, and gone.

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extra halloween

september has an absence of great holidays. august, too. we haven’t had a decent holiday since july 4th here in the states! that’s too long. we need an extra holiday. talk like a pirate day is a great start, but i think it could bleed over into an extra pirate-themed halloween. it’s a great holiday. we get to wear costumes, and raid the neighborhood houses for nautical booty: gold chocolate coins and jolly ranchers in the shape of various gems and jewels.

imagine the parties! rum! swordfights! pickpocketing! water-balloon cannons!

we could call it Buccaneer-oween.

all in favor of extra halloween, say “ARGH!”

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Autumn Come

Down here in Georgia, I thought it would never come. Every day I wondered how hot it would be this time. Wasn’t minding it so much because the peaches were still coming in fresh and golden. Sun handed us peaches with one hand, ripe and sweet like biting into a ball of soft honey. With the other hand, it jammed it’s fingers into the gears of AC units and despotically demanding libations poured in his name. Loyal grasses bent and broke with their bending. Trees flush with light rushed to store up all that heat until their time in the sun would change. A___ and me were talking logn and hard about how things would change so fast we wouldn’t even know it. Soon, the work would come in, the contracts owed would wind their way to my door, and all the sewing done in the heat would come time for reaping.

Change came. A storm blew through in the night. I got laid down by it, deep in my bones, clearing out all the old heat in the deep bones. Had to sweat ’em out. By the time I came to, A____ had a new job in the city, and I had new contracts coming down my way, and everything, everything, everything had changed.

The cold wind came, not biting, yet, just chewing at us a little — tasting us before the cold days come. The wind and rains came to overthrow the sun. This coup may not last, but it’s here at last. We pull out our rain coats, think of pumpkin pies and warm tea by the fireside.

This new paradise, this new dominion of the rains, we celebrate it here.

This morning I inspected my last peach. It had caught the damp rot like I had. It never recovered. I dropped the rotten fruit into the trash and that was that.

Like all good despots, Autumn will wear out his welcome soon enough. For now, we throw damp ticker tape parades in the streets, where the trees throw their leaves down, and cover our heads with umbrellas and hoods. Do not walk bareheaded in the presence of our new king, Autumn Come.

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Miserable weather means miserable connection. Busy on a big thing for the day job, anyway. Camped out near the restro most of the day drinking tea. Whatever hit me, I think it has passed over me, like a divine infection demanding rest. I didn’t realize how stressed I was until I had to stop and hold still a while somewhere so blissfully quiet I could have died for joy. I’m glad I’m pushing to the end of grad school with just 3 more packets, a thesis and a presentation — with, of course all the minutiae paperwork and required forms, of course, all blessedly minor in comparison. A few more books to read. Two more trips to Maine.

I had to get a whiteboard to stay on top of the blurry walls between my writing and my MFA, so I don’t fall into decay with my game writing day job. Wanna see? Maybe tomorrow, when my spotty connection allows photographs. It’s placed near the kitchen and evolves as needs require it. If I find a perfect setup I’ll let you know:

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I have decided that digs and horses are people. They have been genetically engineered to merge their cultures into ours. Without us they barely function, running around in packs trying to recreate the sense of family they get from families, but lacking in the natural ability to inject themselves with booster shots and healthier food. without them, people are a little incomplete: legs too short and no strong sense of territory, vigilance, and walking the ground we live upon; riding that ground and plowing it and clearing trails for ourselves without the aid of machinery. Horses and dogs are people.

I have neither. I have propped myself up with locked doors, treadmills, automobiles, and soulless things that would never bite me or kick me or buck me if I didn’t treat them with the same care and consideration I’d give to a brother.

The delineation between human and non-human is artificial, anyway. I set the line where I see fit. I redefine it after careful consideration and a sense of history.

I live alone in a one bedroom apartment. I dint even have a cat.

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Be interesting

The only rule of art and literature and cocktail parties is this: be interesting. Not much different than a cocktail party, writing. Relaxing in some stranger’s living room telling a story that has the room eavesdropping. Art in a corner in a fashionable dress that is maybe a little revealing, and music slinging drinks while improvving on the baby grand.

Baby, just be interesting. Be interesting in any form listed in the submissions guidelines.

Make a magazine for cocktail parties. It is laid out on tables before the grand event, and everyone can read them while drinking, and stare at the art. Really good musical pieces are there for anyone with a guitar habit or piano lessons behind them. You can read the stories to each other if you want. People need our help to be interesting sometimes.

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scenes from a dream i had

she didn’t want her husband to be taken away from her. she broke free from the crowd that tried to hold her back. she jumped onto the back of the train. she called behind her that she was to be left alone for three days, then they could bury her. she slipped into the first carriage and rushed through, searching for him. he wasn’t there.

the train arrived in erosion. it melted as it landed, and all the pieces of the train were pulled away by the scavenging men and women among the strip mines. She lost most of her clothes. She had to wrap a cloth she found around her body like a toga. It was probably for the best, because she was quick to find herself among the centurions of rome, constantly training for the war that sent them there. she called out her husband’s name, and pushed beyond, where the endless hungry dead pile in makeshift tents and caves along the hills. three days, she had said, and once here, she knew it would take a thousand lifetimes just to find one man…

i closed the book, in the dream, determined to check it out of the library. it was by someone named andrew g____ from the sixties, and i knew it would be grotesque and beautiful. the librarian frowned at my selection. he told me i should get something good. he couldn’t allow me to check out this garbage book. we shouted at each other. a crowd formed. eventually, i won the argument. not before he looked up at me with a mad gleam in his eye, like he had already won, and i was a fool for challenging him in this.

the alarm buzzed beside the bed. i woke up before i could take the book from his hands. the dream melted like wet paper, and i can only barely remember the story, the author’s name.

andrew goldau? andrew gollancz? andrew geldaur? what was that man’s name? he was writing in the sixties, and he’s mostly forgotten now. his books are rare, and difficult, and strange.

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"The Lady or the Tiger" is up at Escape Pod

I haven’t listened to it, yet, because I am at work.

I have full confidence they did an excellent job. I am very pleased to be part of this fine podcast!

http://escapepod.org/2010/09/23/ep259-the-lady-or-the-tiger/

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fog of war

there are things i know and things i don’t. i move my units of troops across the game map, and the lights reveal everything that can be seen and known. these units of mine are crack troops. they do not fire upon anyone who is a friendly, stumbling out from cover unexpectedly. their guns never jam. i can sit down with a spreadsheet and measure exactly how many will die in an encounter with different numbers of my enemies. i know exactly how much they will eat, and how much they will hurt across the map if i push them too hard.

there’s a fog of war across the map. i do not know what my enemy knows. i do not know what i do not know.

when i am not driving them forward they must be cleaning their guns. they must never talk to each other because they know that in the next assault the numbers of things will mean that some of them will die.

they move in silence, like ants.

i haven’t played starcraft 2, yet. i think maybe i’m thinking too hard about the story of things, in the fog between what would be real and where the pleasure is supposed to be found.

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creating an elaborate daisy chain

I’m creating this elaborate daisy chain wherein things export from here outward into other things, including livejournal, facebook, the official (temporary) website.

If any spot on the chain is broken, it will be like christmas tree lights shorting out and taking all the chain with them.

This does not make me feel good about technology. Especially considering the reason it’s gotten so elaborate is that some sites work better with others. Livejournal works better with WordPress, for instance, and WordPress works better with Facebook, but Blogger only works with livejournal, and i haven’t even gotten started attempting something like a Xanga or a MySpace…!

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