I Will Say This for the Butcher

When you tell him to get you a 9×12 pan because your old one is shot, dude does not fuck around. This pan could bake cakes and carry troops into battle. If I’m ever in a gunfight, I will strap it to my chest. I literally thought it was two pans, it’s so heavy. But no. It is just made of all of the metal in America, apparently.

Seriously, one more pound and that thing would collapse in on itself and develop an event horizon.

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When I Feel Like I’m Winning, When I’m Losing Again

I thought we’d talked about “Sundown” but I’m not finding it in my archive searches, so now I’m suspecting that I just talked about it with Elias. But this song… it’s not my favorite song. It is the song that still, every time I hear it, makes my stomach drop, like someone dangerous has just walked into the room. If I listen to it once, I have to listen to it five times in a row. It just hits me in some way I can’t really explain. That line “got me feeling mean” just scares the shit out of me in a way that also delights me.

I have a hard time believing that other people aren’t similarly affected by this song. But just browsing popular music Ionly see this fairly famous cover by Elwood which, really, is good only for scaring you into thinking about 30 frat boys singing along to this song, like that kind of private passionate rageful fucked-up-ness can be a communal activity and for making you consider why U2 has never done a cover of “Sundown.” It’s just not a cover that gets at that feeling of stomach-dropping something-ness, you know?

But! Wu-Tang Clan.

This is a great example (I think. I’m no hip hop expert) of the aesthetic differences between a cover and a sample. There’s Elwood singing the exact song and it’s missing something fundamental to what gives the song such power. But Wu-Tang Clan is just taking recognizable notes (listen right there at :01 especially) to invoke a kind of feeling of menace. Now you might feel menaced not knowing that they’re sampling from “Sundown” just on general principal, but, if you do recognize it, then you are rewarded for bringing the weight of your feelings about that song into “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man.”

It’s kind of the thing that cracks me up about people accusing rap artists of ruining music, just making noise. The best ones listen deeply to a lot of genres and reward, through the thrill of recognition, listeners who also listen deeply. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is. That’s not ruining music, that’s keeping it vital.

Either a Front is Coming Through or My Head is Trying to Kill Me

Woke up with a headache. Not as bad as yesterday, but enough to get me down about the prospect of walking the dog. So, I went back to bed and got up only when the dog and I would normally be getting home.

I’ve had two scenes in my head for weeks–one is of a man racing up Front Street (now 1st Avenue) to show a box to Dr Macon. In that box is a heart and, for some reason, the sight of the heart causes Dr. Macon to grab his coat and rush off. No idea what, if anything, is going on there. Just letting it simmer.

The second one though, I worked on fleshing out a little last night. It’s about a guy named Frank who works for a doctor who has gone off the rails and conducts experiments on people. I’m not sure what kind. I wrote Frank up a backstory for the long scar he’s got running down his chest but I don’t think it’s quite right. I think Frank may be a zombie in the actual sense and the doctor may be like if Wade Davis had come back from Haiti with some wrong ideas. If that’s the case, then I’ll have to finesse the start of the story a little bit. But anyway, poor Frank, who doesn’t (perhaps can’t) talk much has a rich interior life for a guy trapped on a ranch in the middle of nowhere, his only job to keep the cute blonde also trapped on the ranch from leaving. That turns out to be easier than he could have imagined. Probably won’t end well for the doctor.

So, that’s fun. It’s kind of thematically similar to “The Witch’s Friend” so maybe I’ll save it for October, too. Maybe not. Who knows? The publishing world is crumbling. I may be left with standing near a bonfire in my back yard reading this stuff to the Butcher’s friends.

But it’s kind of fun to write from a man’s perspective. I have to admit, though, I kind of want every other scene to be him touching his penis or peeing or sticking his penis various places. Maybe actually having a penis isn’t that big a deal, but I have to tell you, it was all I could do to keep from calling up a couple of guy friends and being all “Okay, when guys say they feel ‘hard,’ that’s obviously a physical sensation. But is it also a metaphor? Is it just that your penis feels hard to you? How deep is the hard feeling? Like are you hard from taint to tip or from deep in your belly or what?”

But I did not. Because I chickened out a little bit. But I feel like I can get my head around what it’s like psychologically to be a dude. I still have no idea, none at all, what it must feel like to be a male body.

And I’m not sure it’s something, even if you told me, I could exactly imagine.

Which probably makes “Frank” objectively a shitty story, but man, I’m having fun writing it.