Please Tell Me the Rain Will Help

The weather here is beautiful. We have our windows open and only the fan on the HVAC unit to move air around. The pollen count is also apparently off the charts. I heard yesterday that a 12 is considered high and we’re at 33 or something. I don’t know what 12  or 33 signify perhaps pounds of pollen per square inch. Believe me, trying to breathe this air, you’d be willing to accept that there are thirty-three pounds of pollen per every square inch.

My allergies are completely haywire. And responding to NOTHING. I mean, everything I take makes me feel better (good) but does nothing to alleviate my symptoms (strange and bad). So, I feel pleasant but I am a runny-nosed, watery-eyed fool. I didn’t even walk the dog this morning.

I’m really hoping that the rain will help and that it will knock some of this pollen out of the air. Otherwise, I’m going to have to get a gas mask.

First there is an ending, then there is no ending, then…?

I can’t figure out how to end this Sue Allen draft. But I need to wrap it up some way. Even if it’s just a shitty first draft, it needs to be a draft, an actual completed thing.

But the thing I thought would be compelling–John comes from the future and kills folks–just isn’t that compelling to me and I’ve now kind of insinuated that he died in the flood. Oops. That’s why picking the end of April 2010 is a bad time for time traveling. Your return trip is going to be soggy.

And I can’t quite settle on what terrible thing Lee is up to, which makes resolving it rather difficult.

I did, today, though, write a cool scene in which John gives a woman a dime from 2009 to prove that he’s from the future, which she then gives to her church, where they dutifully keep it until 2009 only to then have a 2009 dime on their hands. They couldn’t prove it was from 2009 before and once they hit 2009, they can’t prove it’s not from 2009.

Shit like that amuses me. And I want the final thrust of the book to be something like that, because I’ve come to believe that, even if time travel were possible, it wouldn’t matter. People forget, they adapt. And the world is a hard place to change.

I’m reading Brenda Maddox’s Yeat’s Ghosts which is a really good read and not telling me exactly what I’d hoped to know, not that I knew what that was. I’d stop reading, but it’s not like the writing has any direction, so I keep going. Something will come to me, some understanding of the way things should end.

I just need to be patient.

Also, in the future, I should not make fun of Ezra Pound before starting on any reading about Yeats. Ugh.

I’ve Crossed a Border!

My interview with Elizabeth McClellan is up. Not at Pith but at Country Life. Now all I need is for Jack White to write a song about me that he sings to me at Noshville and I can write it up for Bites and Cream and have posted at all four blogs!!!!

I like interviewing McClellan because I really enjoy how her mind works around these ideas and images and concerns. Anyway, check it out. I probably should have asked her more about the naked lady stuff, like, if she’s a judge next year, does she have to read everything naked? But I just thought of that now, so it’s too late.

Chasing Deer

Mrs. W. and I were coming home from our walk, me in a headache-induced walking coma, her in a bout of weirdness. I look down at her and she’s staring across the AT&T yard like she might take off running. I look and there are two white tail deer frolicking in the grass. They see us and hightail it (literally!) toward our house. This is almost too much for Mrs. W. She takes off down the hill. I am trying to anchor her back.

Her whole body just turns into one giant nose. I don’t know how else to explain it, but if you have a dog, you know they always smell more than you, but that there are times when their whole bodies are devoted to smelling something. Ears are disregarded. Chests heave quickly so that air can move as rapidly as possible across all scent sensors. The fronts of their bodies move wildly from side to side while their tail acts as counter-weight. Nothing matters as much as the smell.

And then, there, in the neighbor’s yard, one of the deer stands watching us. I guess waiting to see if we’re going to get out of the meadow so that they can return. I yell, almost unconsciously, and it leaps off toward the creek and is gone.

Man, I’d make a shitty hunter. “Oooooo!!!!! There it is! Look, look, look!” I’d shout, every time.

I Sometimes Forget that Billy Lyons Had a Mom

Like everyone else, I’ve been following the Trayvon Martin story in horror.

But was finally this video that had me crying about it. Just what a fucking waste. What a terrible waste that all we have left to offer Trayvon Martin, the closest we can come to giving him life again, is to move him into the realm of legend–to write songs about him, to make movies about him, to write books and news articles about him. To make a myth of him. And I don’t mean that in the sense of making him into something untrue.

I just mean that Billy Lyons had a mom, you know? Someone out there assumed he’d come home from his night out with Lee Shelton, and he never did. And there’s nothing to be done about that, except to keep singing his name. Or something close. As if that counts.

Well, I guess it does count for something.

It’s just that what a person, a living person, counts for is so much more.In the balance, the real person always counts for more. But when there’s no real person left, giving weight to the legend is all that’s left for most of us. You know what I mean? You and I are not going to bring his killer to justice. We’re probably not going to see justice done. We’re probably not going to see that police department dismantled and put back together with folks who actually investigate when their friends shoot someone. The kid is not alive, so all most of us can do is keep his name alive.

I don’t know. It just really hurts my heart.

Things More Interesting than Hay Fever

1. Southern Beale has a story we were talking about on Twitter last night. The news coverage was so weird. Everyone was like “We have no idea how this could have happened” but the people had, by my count, two Confederate flags. Don’t get me wrong. Dude should go to jail. He could have killed children. But it seems really strange that no one has any idea why he might have been pissed at his neighbors. I mean, I can come up with one possibility and that’s just going by what I saw.

2. I have really mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, people need jobs. On the other hand, these are exactly the kinds of repetitive bullshitty jobs that should be being done by robots.

3. I don’t quite understand this story.

4. I’m with Newscoma. “Seeing an elected leader go from jail to house session in just a matter of hours and getting a warm reception is rather off-putting.” Jeff Woods says there was even a fist-bump. I wonder if the fist-bumper noticed any bruises or abrasions on Hawk’s knuckles. After all, it had been less than 48 hours.

5. I also agree with Rachel Walden, but I have to admit, I have no hope of this stuff doing any good. I think the point is to make doctors afraid and to intimidate women. Pointing out that it will do that is just like pointing out that ice cream is delicious.

6. This is an indispensable argument for why the photo-ID law may have a hard time standing up to Tennessee constitutional muster.

Look for the Tell

I once blogospherically knew a guy who had a run-in with his wife. They later divorced. He sent an email to all his friends to tell his side of the story and I came into possession of that email through third-hand means. His side of the story was incredibly convincing–about how she had really secretly been the violent one and how she’d verbally abused their children and, he seemed to insinuate, physically abused at least one of them and how he was going to try to get custody of the children.

And I–raving feminist bitch and thinker-of-very-low-thoughts of this dude–was like “Wow, that sounds horrible!” I was reading through the thing and I felt like I was reading the truth. I felt bad for him. Through hundreds of words devoted to what a shitty marriage they’d had and how terrible she was. I was buying it–and I hate him.

And then at the bottom, he said something like, “and of course when I get custody of the children, I will let her have generous visitation.” And it was like a record scratch in my brain, because, believe me, if someone had treated your children the way this guy was claiming his wife had treated their children, you would be asking for no visitation and then making your lawyers push for supervised visitations, if you couldn’t cut off all contact.

One thing or the other had to be true–either she really was a monster or you’d feel fine with her having generous visitations with your kids. Both things just aren’t plausible. That made me look back over the rest of the email with a more discerning eye. And there was a whiff of bullshit under the whole thing.

I don’t know what went on between them, but I’m putting more stock in the police report than his explanatory email, you know?

I was thinking of that–how this first dude just had to push the story a little farther than necessary, make it almost too perfect, explain away everything that might make his audience uncomfortable–when I was reading this story about Representative Hawk. Because in that story there’s one little detail that gives a whiff of bullshit to the whole thing. Remember, he’s claiming they argued, she pulled a gun on him and the baby, and he fled to a friend’s house. He doesn’t know where she got those bruises. (I guess this is the “Crazy bitches are crazy. Amirite?” defense.)

Keeping that in mind, read this:

Hawk, 43, denied striking his wife and said he didn’t know how she had received the bruises. He said he had taken his daughter out of the house following the incident and urged a neighbor to call 911, but the neighbor urged him to let the situation cool off before calling police.

Now, imagine that your neighbor and his small child showed up at your house saying that his wife was threatening to shoot him. That she had a gun and had aimed it at him. Let me repeat. A distressed neighbor shows up at your house claiming his wife has a gun and is threatening to shoot him.

In what world do you urge your neighbor to cool off before calling the police? A woman with a gun is running around threatening to kill people in your neighborhood and you’re all “Oh, let’s give it a few minutes to see what happens?”


I suspect he just needed a story for why, if she’s the aggressor, she called 911 first.

And yes, I suppose it’s possible that crazy bitches are crazy. But I’m thinking the odds are pretty damn low in this case.

You want to feel even better about this story? (And by “better,” I mean “worse”.)

Hawk accepted handshakes and well wishes from fellow lawmakers at his desk before stepping out of the chamber to meet with reporters.

Yep, you can get out of jail for beating your wife, hightail it to Nashville where you get to tell your story to the state-wide media, and then accept well-wishes from the people who make laws about women.

What kind of well wishes, one wonders? “Hey man, don’t worry. You’ll beat this thing like you did the last one?”

Representative David Hawk

I have some thoughts. I wrote some of them up at Pith. Here are some others.

1. The next time Mike Turner goes at him, I’d prefer he didn’t bother to apologize.

2. Hawk has a track record. His ex-wife had to take a restraining order out against him.

3. While I’m certain Hawk thinks that telling everyone his wife pulled a gun on him will make everyone think that she’s a nutter and just making this all up, I would like to ask you to focus on the location of their child. Neither party disputes that the baby was in Hawk’s wife’s arms at one point or that Hawk left the house with the baby. Mrs. Hawk is severely bruised in the face. I will not be surprised if she pulled a gun on him, but judging by the fact that it is unlikely that a person is going to beat the shit out of someone holding a gun, I think it’s likely that, if she did pull a gun, she pulled it in order to stop the assault.

4. This is another prime example of why I will never recognize these people as having any moral authority over me. Stalk your last wife? Beat your current wife? And you think you can tell me how to run my life? Fuck no. Get your own house in order, asshole.

Good Sleeping Weather

Except for the fact that I have to wash the dog and the dishes, this weekend has been one of those weekends where I feel like I’m on vacation. It’s beautiful here. It’s smells fantastic. I got to see cool places, spend a lot of time reading, and go to Bells Bend with the dog. They’ve done a lot of mowing there, so the park has a weird, but nice, open-meadow aesthetic at the moment. The dog and I were able to get into some places we’d never been before.

And then I had a pleasant trip to Walmart. Yes. Walmart!

And then carry-out from El Rey Azteca.

And now I’m trying to work up the energy to deep condition my hair.

Ha ha ha. If I had a deck, I’d be out on it.

Always Coming Home

I finished it the other day, but I had to sit with it a while to figure out what I want to say about it.  I’m honestly still not sure what I want to say about it. It is amazing. Simply amazing, just as a thing that exists in the world. But I also loved that even though Stone Telling goes to a terrible place where bad things happen, you don’t have to read a litany of bad things happening. There’s not a lot of suffering as plot point in the book. That’s not to say that people don’t suffer, just that it’s not a plot point.

I’m going to have to think on this some, because it seems to me that this is probably the most radical move the book makes (and in a book like this, that’s saying something)–to have a story full of women and children and poor people, with a realistic threat of war, and their suffering is not part of our entertainment.

It makes me wonder how much of Western literature about people who are really different from the author has an element of “sucks to be you” in it, when reading something that doesn’t have that element seems so strange and nice.

I keep thinking about all of the YouTube videos for “It is Well (With my Soul)” (sorry, had to add the echo in there) had either text or spoken words about the circumstances under which the song came to be written. I’m not sure I’m exactly clear on where the source of my discomfort is, but I think it’s in the fact that the recitation of this man’s suffering is clearly supposed to add something to the aesthetic experience of listening to the song. Your learning of his great suffering is supposed to add something to the song for you. It’s supposed to make the song better, more meaningful. More entertaining.

Which is not to say that I think it’s somehow wrong to learn about what happened or to learn about what happened and find that it does make the song more profound for you, since he has been through some shit and if he can find that it is well with his soul, well, maybe we all can.

But you know what I mean? It seems like there’s a difference between learning about what happened to him and having what happened to him presented to you as part of the aesthetic experience of the song.

I also loved Always Coming Home for the narrator, which made me feel a lot more sure about what I’m doing with the Sue Allen piece.

Anyway, good book.

History Day of History

I went to the Buchanan Log Home for a meeting on the Buchanan Station Cemetery. The Buchanans of the Log Home are not the Buchanans of the Station but they’ve adopted those dead folks and look after them, so you know I appreciate that. The log home was beautiful, but I couldn’t really figure out how to take a picture of what I wanted to show you. Basically, the one with the log wall meeting the wallpapered wall gets at it.

Then I ran up to Dover because I was going to get a picture of those wooden crosses, god damn it. And it was me and the thunder and possibly the coolest cemetery I have been to in ages. The crosses seem both to mark graves and to mark where gravestones were. It also appears that the people of Dover attempted so weird terrace burials? I didn’t quite know what to make of that. And there’s a pile of Confederates in there who, if I’m understanding the marker right, never got dug back up and reburied properly, which is a little unusual for Tennessee. If there’s one thing Tennesseans love other than putting cool shit under water, it’s digging up dead people and moving them.

I also saw this cool house that is falling down.

Everything crumbles, I know. But sometimes I wish we made more of an effort to figure out how to combine the log wall with the wallpapered wall with the modern kitchen etc. You know?

Why, Yes

I am listening to Buffalo Clover and The Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band shuffled together like it’s all one project, and I have to say, if The Flying Buffalo Bulgar Clover Klezmer Band were real, I would listen to them until my ears wore out. I feel like such a dork about Buffalo Clover because that chick is the Butcher’s friend from high school and yet, I am totally digging them as if they’re a real band. I mean, they are a real band. But my god, “it’s like a Janice Joplin/The Doors/Someone Else I can’t quite put my finger on tribute album” is something I cannot resist. I’m not strong enough, people. I like them as if the Butcher does not know her. (If you were going to buy just one song, I’d recommend “Good Man” which is just an ass-shaker, like if Nancy Sinatra and the Monkees had a baby. I don’t see it on YouTube though.)

And obviously, anything that includes a tuba is going to be music I love.

And see? Don’t they kind of go together in some weird way? I’m digging it anyway. I will never listen as broadly as the Butcher does. It’s just not possible. Plus I don’t really get classical music. I can listen and appreciate that it’s beautiful and technically good, but it just does nothing for me. It’s like a whole main branch of music just doesn’t resonate with my soul. So, yes, every time I’m asking you to listen to some weird thing recorded off a scratchy 78 and you’re like “My god, what is this crap and how can anyone like it?” and I’m all “It’s good. Just give it a chance,” you can enjoy knowing that I don’t give two shits about classical music and never will.

Edited to add: While I’m expressing strong opinions that make no sense, let me also state that I believe klezmer music is the only good use for a clarinet. Everything else should be handed off to the oboe, bassoon, or base clarinet. Or some member of the saxophone family.

And So On

Sorry to be writing so much about the writing process, but it’s really all I’m thinking about lately that’s interesting to me. The problem with politics is that it’s really the same old people doing the same old crap while you hope they’d be better. I mean, the TNDP is rushing to Lincoln Davis’s defense because he didn’t want to fill out a provisional ballot but instead wanted to complain about the insult of being treated like a black person.

If I ran the TNDP, the second somebody was like “Don’t you know who I am?” and expected special treatment because of it and, when he didn’t get it, complained that he now knew how people who fucking died in this state for voting, I’d be like “Fight your own battles, jackass.” But that’s probably why I’d not running the TNDP.

And I was going to say something about how organized the people at my polling place were–the voters. They all had their IDs ready. They all had a plan for how they were going to vote. And then I realized, yeah, they’ve been through this before. Those little old ladies are ten, fifteen years older than my dad and my dad graduated from high school in ’63. A little voter suppression tactic like a photo ID is nothing to them. I’m always amazed at the difference between voting in Bordeaux and voting in Sylvan Park. In Sylvan Park, I had little old ladies ask me who they should vote for at the polling place. Here, little old ladies come in with a plan.

The Democratic party would do well to learn from the obvious information infrastructure in the black community and replicate it, but whatever.

I think the draft is winding down. There’s only so much left in my outline–Sue gets shot, Lee dies, John leaves–and I just write “Sue gets shot.” I know I’ve gushed about the gun guys before, but man, having that conversation with them has really helped this part of the book. I didn’t need what I thought I’d need, but I ended up needing something they just mentioned in passing, about how your scope, when level, aims straight, but your bullet, when your rifle is level, doesn’t go straight. It has a curve to it. So you have to set your site–like zeroing out your measuring cups–to adjust for the curve of the bullet (and the curve may change, too, depending on wind and stuff, but I didn’t want to get too in over my head).

It’s hard for me to explain just how beautiful I think that is–a straight line meeting a curved line, and the ability to figure out where that intersection will be. I mean, I sucked at physics, but this is it, right? This is the beauty of physics–that you can know that something that looks straight–the path of a bullet–isn’t really. You can plot the curve and then still get your tools to do what you want them to do.

John thinks that it reveals some secret of the universe. Which I like. It’s a nice contrast to his dad thinking that the secrets of the universe all involve commanding dead people to do things. I also like that he takes meticulous notes about his gun, well, about how it fires, whether his aim is off, etc. And some of those notes are incomprehensible later, because he wrote them while out of his mind on meth, but he takes the fact that he still writes them as evidence that he has self-discipline.

And I wrote a brief history of the Black Spiritualist church in Nashville, which I really enjoyed. This first draft may suck on a lot of levels, but it’s full of all of the nerdy goodness I know about Spiritualism in Nashville.

I Use Every Point of View

One thing in the shitty first draft is that I think I’m pretty much “Point of view? I choose all of them!!!!” It’s mostly in third person, but sometimes it’s clear there’s an “I” who’s telling you the story and sometimes that “I” is doing things with “you” and narrating what “you and I” are doing.

I’ve written some parts in past tense, some parts in present tense, and a few parts in future tense.

It’s a mess. But I’m hoping I can make it work.

My problem–well, maybe “problem” is too strong a word–my issue as a writer is that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want to ride in the hot air balloon. I want to watch how they lay the basket on its side and roll out the balloon and fill it with hot air and tilt it upward and, eventually, let it loose from the earth. I kind of don’t give a shit where it goes once it gets up there.

The Other Thing I Like About Walks

I like walks because I live in a beautiful place and getting to move slowly through it is an enormous treat. My brain often shuts down and I can just enjoy things without having to think about them half-to-death.

But the other thing I like about walking is that sometimes my brain doesn’t shut down, but just goes off in its own directions. So, this morning, while I was stuck with the earworm of “It is Well With My Soul” (Holy shit, do not go to YouTube and look for “It is Well With My Soul” unless you want to go down a rabbit hole of despair at how Contemporary Christian Music can ruin every single thing with the judicious use of terrible synthesizers. I almost can’t go on with my post. I wonder–and maybe this is not a fair question–did these people never hear that song in church? And don’t even get me started on all the grief porn now attached to the song. Lord almighty. Let us all listen to Marion Williams singing it so that at least I can get on with my day. Granted, this is not how we sang it in church. But you can bet I will be singing it like this in the shower.  Oh, wait, here is a group doing it with the right call and response part on the chorus. All they need is a piano. [Yes, I know, they don’t believe in pianos in church. I was making a joke.])

People, look back at that last paragraph. We are still in the middle of a sentence. That one that starts “So, this morning, wile I was…” That hasn’t ever ended. I started writing it twenty minutes ago, but got completely off track. I’m almost not sure how to get back to it. We were on a path, we got sidetracked and we’ve got to either get back to the main path right now or give up on continuing on that way. But how do I punctuate an indication that we’re back on the main trail? We’re outside of the parentheses and beyond a YouTube video. We have a whole new paragraph here in a sentence that has not ended. I’m just going to pick it back up in the next paragraph. It’s all I can do. And to think Franzen thinks this kind of meta-playfulness sucks. Whatever, Franzen. I have a new paragraph in the middle of my sentence. What do you have? Oh, right. Millions of dollars. Anyway…

Walking, earworm, and I realized that this part of writing sucks so bad because I just don’t give a shit about what these characters are doing right now. Action, shmaction. I want to know about the kid who came back from the future and who must surely be running out of drugs by now. And so I’m going to write about him.


Consider Me Skeptical

I’m having a hard time believing there’s that much to say about Yeats. Does that get me kicked out of English departments everywhere? But look at the thickness of those books. His biography is two volumes!

I just don’t believe there can be that much to say about anyone.

But we’ll see.

Short on Romney

Yes, he lost Alabama and Mississippi. No, this is not surprising. As I said, like it or not, most Christians do not consider him Christian. Christians that would not have a problem voting for someone they don’t perceive as Christian do not, in general, live in the South. Even among the ones who do, they are going to be uncomfortable voting for a man they “know” is not Christian who “lies” and says that he is.

In a way, this is hilarious payback for ten years of anti-Muslim hysteria. You have a candidate whose religion is premised on the importance of Christianity but builds off it to include further revelations and corrections. Too bad you’ve spent a decade calling folks like that terrorists.

You Can be Banned from YouTube?!

Birdcloud, a local band the Butcher loves, is in the middle of a YouTube controversy. Their song. “Saving Myself for Jesus” has been banned and they’ve just lost the appeal. It’s not clear to me what community guidelines they could be violating. Is the song sexually explicit? Yes. Did it take me three seconds to find Lucile Bogan’s “Shave ‘Em Dry” up at YouTube? Yes, but only because I was typing slowly. Do they think it’s hate speech? Possibly, but this seems to me to be then a willful misreading of the song, since it’s not making fun of anyone’s religion. It’s making fun of the rampant hypocrisy in this culture of people who profess to be Christians but who have made for themselves enormous loopholes that still let them carry on in all kinds of ways that have to be immoral according to their own beliefs.

If pointing out hypocrisy is now considered hate speech, I have to laugh.

Oh, I Forgot about the Crosses!

I forgot to tell y’all why I will be returning to Dover in the very near future, even though you could measure my interest in Civil War battlefields on an inch worm and still have almost the whole worm left over. So, there we are, pulling out of the national cemetery–home of dead people–and we turn left to go into the old part of town and there is a little church cemetery with wooden crosses! I tried to get the Butcher to stop, but he would not.

But you know I’m going back there.


It’s weird living somewhere you would happily vacation. This is what Mrs. Wigglebottom and I got to look at on our walk–the mist rising from the hills. This picture is taken through a break made by a drunk driver, so that part gives me pause, but still, nice view.

I was so stiff on our walk that my legs were just aching by the time we got up to Lloyd. Since I walk that way most days, it was just evidence to me of how much I carry stress in my body, let it literally curl me up so much that straightening my legs to walk is painful until everything gets warmed up. But by the time I was up on Lloyd, looking at shit this beautiful, I felt better.

I got some good writing done yesterday about how there’s this undercurrent of unease the veterans feel with the younger guys who believe that the War was about… not quite states’ rights… these aren’t a group of young men who need an excuse yet to stop feeling negatively toward the Yankees, though that was already happening. They’re more on the men’s rights side–that a man has a natural place in an ordered universe and the War was about order vs. chaos, with chaos being the temporary victor. Their national project, as it were, then, is to be the next generation of men committed to order, to take up where the veterans have left off. See how that works? Just like in the states’ rights argument, slavery just slips right out of the conversation.

But the veterans both side with Forrest, in that they agree these are different times and so different relations between the races are called for, and they know they lost something when they lost the War. And they experience the young men’s retelling of the War as a commitment to Godly order as the young men being embarrassed by slavery, embarrassed that this is what their fathers and uncles risked their lives for.

I think this is an important component to the fight between Jere Baxter and Jacob Dickinson. It’s not just that Dickinson is a gross racist. It’s that he will not be told he should be ashamed of slavery and he will not be dictated to by some youngster who doesn’t even know how it was how it should be. Not that Jere is that much younger or telling him he should be ashamed of slavery.

But this isn’t a world Lee can happily come back to. Even the people who think he’s a hero think he’s a hero for the wrong reasons, at least in his mind.

But the other thing I’m trying to get at is how hard it can be for people to see other people as whole, contradictory, difficult, human beings. And how easy it is for people to construct an idea of a person, attach motivations to that idea, and become more attached to that idea than to the actual person.

I wonder how many of us live in a fantasy world without even realizing it–where we don’t see the actual people in front of us, but instead just project our fantasy of who they are onto them.

I sometimes wonder if “understanding” is a barrier to seeing people as they truly are. I know I like to sit around and solve all of the world’s problems by analyzing every little thing people do in order to understand all their secret motivations, especially if it seems like their secret motivations cast me in an awesome light.

But maybe that’s not always helpful. Maybe instead of illuminating, it’s just fantasizing.

I don’t know.

Some Thoughts on the Music of My Non-Misspent Youth

It’s apparent now that Slayer was a couple of good guitarists, a fine bassist, and only a passable drummer. When I was in marching band, I asked Mr. Runty to do an arrangement of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida for us to do in pep band and all the stoners would run back into the gym when we played it because they all were like “Slayer?! Cool.”

But wasn’t this song also on the Less than Zero soundtrack? Man, didn’t we all think this was going to be something and all that came of it was fucking Limp Bizkit. Anyway, Slayer should have borrowed Anthrax’s drummer, that’s for damn sure.

Oh, Anthrax. This song, whenever I hear it, it tastes like Marlboro reds, beer, and C’s neighbor, who I have to believe, when I look back on it, must have tasted like a bottle of Drakkar Noir, but in my memory just tastes like something sad and dangerous. Was his brother hot, too? I can’t remember. Hell, I can’t remember if he was hot, even. Just that he played this song and taught us to smoke and let us take tiny sips off his beer, which he drank openly, without fear of repercussions from his dad.

I guess shit probably didn’t go that easy for him. I know it didn’t for C. I used to think that I could be cold enough and sharp enough that I could be dangerous. But I was young. I was probably just annoying. What I wanted, though, was to be tough in a way I never could pull off in real life, because I had a lot I wanted to be able to turn my back on. I used to think I escaped. I could go on to do anything else with my life than be stuck in that place with people I wished could have what they dreamed instead of what they settled for. But I didn’t, really.

I still carry those folks in my heart, back in the dark corner.



The Trainwreck

The Butcher sat next to me on the couch this morning, slumped over right on the edge of the cushion. “That was the worst it’s been in a long time, wasn’t it?”

“Oh my god,” I said, “Yes. What was that?”

My bathroom is in shambles. I have been informed that I should just brush my teeth in the kitchen until I can get a plumber in. I have a pile of back issues of a bird magazine published in a state I don’t live in. I have a whole new set of dishes in my cabinets that I didn’t ask for nor need because I already have a set of dishes. And they’re talking about buying the house next door. Ha ha ha. Wouldn’t that be funny? Oh, and I’m a horder because I don’t sort the mail and throw out the flyers when I bring it in. People. I don’t bring the mail in. The Butcher gets it when he lets the dog out when he gets home from work.

Let me repeat. My dad, who brought into this house magazines pertaining to birds from a state I don’t live in, a set of dishes I don’t need because I already have dishes, and who left my bathroom in worse shape than he found it knowing money is tight for us this month, has decided I’m a horder because I don’t sort the mail how he would when I bring it in when I don’t even bring the mail in.And when I called him on this shit, he admitted to just making it up in order to have something to give me a hard time about.

Yes, I believe that this is as close an admission as I’m ever going to get that he is mean because it’s fun for him. But there it is. He’s mean because it’s fun for him. He makes shit up because it lets him be mean, which is fun for him.

And now my whole fucking day is just going to be a joy because I’m still so wound up about this.

Honestly, I hear all this bullshit about the importance of two-parent homes and about how important it is for a man to be in his child’s life, even if he isn’t good to the child’s mom. As if, seriously, as if a man can ever be shitty to the woman he’s had children with and not be shitty to his children. It is not possible. Once being a cruel fucker is the way you get through life and get your way, that’s just how you deal with everyone you love unless you become afraid that your cruel-fucker behavior will result in negative consequences you can’t manipulate.

And since you never come to believe that there are negative consequences you can’t manipulate, you never have any reason to stop being a cruel fucker. Think on that, you women who are sitting in relationships with assholes because you think it’s better for your kids. Eventually this shit is going to bite your kid in the ass as hard or harder than it’s biting you. That day will come. And then it will continue for the rest of your kid’s life. Listen and believe.

Anyway, I hate everything today.

The Last Park and Fort Donelson

She Come Walking Over

Here is my question. Here you have this song that is filled with a kind of stoner aesthtetic. It builds and builds with a desire that can’t quite get off the couch. It’s like slow, slow, rising tension, rising tension, drop back down. Slow build, slow build, drop back into a kind of funky guitar solo. Clearly, someone wants to get laid, but let’s be honest, each thrust has got to take like a minute, if he can even get it up. And just when you think nothing, nothing at all is going to happen at a pace that allows anything to happen for you and maybe your time would be better spent thinking about dinner, it builds one more time and then… I’m sorry. But isn’t this just the best fucking thing ever?

Okay, not best. But most surprising thing? Of all the ways you expect this song to end, do you expect it to end with the noises a kid makes when he’s talking to you through a bunch of milk bubbles?

This has to be the greatest WTF moment of 20th century music.