My days in Seattle are numbered

Watching reheated Chinese food cool to an edible temperature, listening to Shadowfax. Track ten of their CD The Odd Get Even is on repeat. “One Heart” is the name of the song. It’s soft – ethereal guitar, dischorded piano, and eerie reeds, the kind of thing you listen to when it’s four in the morning and it’s been raining for a month straight. It reminds me of 1993, when I was all alone in my mom’s basement, everything I owned temporarily stacked against the walls of an 11 by 11 cement cell. My girlfriend was temporarily in Tampa; my social life was temporarily in Bloomington; my zine was temporarily on hiatus; my posh computer job was temporarily on sabbatical while I ran a punch press third shift and unloaded trucks first shift. It was one of those situations that needed definition: a song, a smell, an anthem, a t-shirt, a car that would always pull my life back to it. This is one of the songs, albums that does it. Maybe in five years, it will also remind me of this moment. Who knows.

It’s time to go public with a fairly big secret. I think I know all of the people who read this journal (and if I don’t, you should drop me a line) so this isn’t a surprise to any of you, but here goes. My days in Seattle are numbered. On March 31, I will get in a car and take a two-week voyage across the country which will end with me in New York City, which I will call my new home.

First, I should explain the plan. I’ve quit my job, but I will continue working until the second week of March. Oh, I will be in New York for about a week next month, visiting Marie and maybe laying some groundwork for the move. I’m moving in with Marie, in Washington Heights. I’ll be shipping books, records, electronics ahead of time. Basically everything but my clothes, my computer, my music, and the stuff I’d take on a two-week trip will be going through UPS. My third-hand furniture will be chopped into bits or abandoned at Goodwill. My car will be sold for scrap. Some other stuff will also be given away or sold. And I’ve been dumping a lot of shit I accumulated over the last four years. I’m hoping this move will be a little cleaner than the last, although that wasn’t too bad.

And where will I work? From my computer desk, creating fiction. The pay’s not much, but it’s what I need to be doing. I have some money in the bank, and I will probably pick up some freelance work here and there, but from here on out, my full-time job will be novelist. I need to get Rumored to Exist off the ground, and start other stuff. I can’t do this weird dual-lifestyle thing anymore. I’ve known this for a while, and I thought my only way out was to work a day job and save money to retire at 50 instead of 65 and then write, or maybe go back to school. Marie has been very gracious about this, and I think the time and the change in environment will mean an incredible Rumored to Exist and an even better next book.

I’m anxious to be with Marie more. And Mungo and Henrey – I really like cats, and having two of them to hang around with will be great. I’m anxious to be in New York, the city where everything’s there – every big record store and every famous street and corner and building and every bookstore, and every publisher, and everything. Seattle is very second-tier – it’s thirtysomething, people going to little league games and competing with the Joneses and Working Hard / Playing Hard ™ and driving SUVs. There’s some counterculture here, but even that needs more counterculture. Seattle is a stereotype, where New York is everything. Maybe I’m just guessing this stuff, but I feel like I need the change. I can’t stay here forever, I’ve decided that.

I feel like I could write about this forever – what I see ahead, what I don’t like about today. It’s not that I hate Seattle – it sure beats Indiana. But there are many things that make it impassable for me. I hate the traffic. I hate the rain. I hate the parking. As of right now, I feel very alone in this city, probably more alone than I did at the absolute low in Bloomington, which was the period between when Larry left (5/95) and when I left (7/95). I have no friends in Seattle – no regular friends. I have a half-dozen friends that I see once or twice a year. One calls the other out of the blue, “it’s been forever, let’s do something,” and then a dinner or a movie happens. There’s nobody that I could just call out of the blue here and say “let’s go to the mall.” I don’t want to short-change the couple of people that I do see a few times a year – I love to hang out with them. But I have no default friends, like Ray or Larry, and I would never expect to meet one here.

I don’t expect NYC to be filled with people interested in meeting me or anything. But I need the change. I think being out of college has killed my drive to talk to others. I used to meet new people every semester, and now the only people I see are my coworkers. I’m sure I could go to somebody’s kids’ soccer game, but I need people like me. I think being on the loose as a writer, going to readings and workshops and stuff, might help me. Who knows.

This has gone from an announcement to a bunch of whining drivel, so I should wrap this up. I’m sure a lot more stuff will be discussed about this move, and I’m glad it’s out in the open so I can mention it. I’d like to avoid making this into some sort of countdown to the move (“day 7 – I bought some boxes.”) but I’m sure it will come up again. Drop a line if you have any questions, as always…


working on rumored

I don’t know why I haven’t been writing, except that things are odd and busy and it once again seems like the days are only eight hours long. I am (falsely) hoping for a good weekend. I got my bonus from work, and I plan on putting it all in the bank, but I’m sure within 24 hours, I’ll be shopping for something stupid, like an underwater CD player.

I’ve been working on Rumored, and it’s slowly progressing. I used to be amazed when I could write for three hours a night, every night. Now I’m amazed that I meet my writing quota in 12 minutes and then start watching TV or something. I promised myself that I would finish the first 150 parts of the 256 in the book by the end of the month. It is the 29th, and I am on #148. I should be fine. Now, I want to finish all 256 by the end of March, which might be impossible. Maybe I’ll sell my TV.

The new Kevin Canty book has made me think about a lot of Summer Rain, and how I need to eventually finish that bastard. I think I’m going to go back and rewrite a lot of the sex scenes, or rather insert some. There’s one implied in chapter 3, and one in first person in like chapter 41 or something, but neither really tell what needs to be told. Overall, the protagonist isn’t supposed to get laid, except for the girl who dumps him right before the book starts, and the girl at the end of the book. (And no, it doesn’t have a stupid happily ever after ending – it’s more of a ‘once you get what you’re chasing, you realize it’s not what you want’ sort of thing.) I guess I’m still worried that someone out there will sue me because they think that the fictional characters in my book are based on them. They are, but at least I changed the names.

I don’t think I have anything to talk about today. Just wondering how many feet it will rain over the weekend. I’m glad I live on the fifth floor.


the rubber block

I’m home today. I won’t go into too much detail about the dental procedure, except to say that I feel pretty odd today. They had to use a rubber block to prop open my mouth, so my jaw feels like I took a shot in a fight or something. My gums were also very torn up and wouldn’t stop bleeding, but it looks like tons of orange juice and a good night of sleep calmed that down.

The best part of the dentist was the nitrous. If I had that whole setup in my apartment, I’d write ten books a year. When I was first going under, I started thinking of this Ginsberg-esque poetry, stuff about apocalyptic priests of terror. Then I started thinking about Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet, and I wanted to laugh so bad, but I had this block in my mouth. After all of my fun, they gave me pure oxygen, which sobered me up almost immediately. I wish my last dentist would’ve given me this stuff.

So today’s a day of those chocolate diet shakes, and maybe some applesauce. I think I can eat solids okay, I just can’t chew. And since it’s been about 24 hours since I ate anything, I feel a little weird. I’m sick of lying in bed though, so I want to try and get some writing done, or at least some shuffling.

I’ve been listening to Chick Corea’s Expressions CD, which is him playing solo piano of assorted standards. He does his own version of the Gershwin “Someone to Watch Over Me” that’s currently on repeat in the player. It really reminds of some era in my past, maybe the spring of 92, maybe the spring of 90. It’s a very eerie, familiar sound, but so is most of Chick’s piano. Anyway, it’s nice sitting home in the rain, recovering from a bad dental procedure kind of music.

It’s either time to write or get some applesauce.


crown, zine, etc

In less than two hours, my dentist will be grinding down one of my molars to fit it with a crown. It sounds excruciating, but the tooth already got a root canal last year, so I shouldn’t be too bad.

I’m itching to work on another zine. I’m not sure it will be Air in the Paragraph Line, just because of the outlay of cash involved. If I had FrameMaker at home, and printing was free, I might put together another issue. But I still have reams of pages from the last issue that I haven’t folded or collated yet, which tells you the level of enthusiasm for the project.

It’s not that I don’t like AITPL – I like it very much, especially when it’s done. When I was creating that zine, I was aiming toward something similar to Frank Zappa’s work ethic – a lot of talent, no attitude, and none of the typical bullshit. You don’t need to review some punk band’s 7″ records to have a zine. I didn’t get the exposure I could have, but I got some very positive reviews and no complaints, and you can’t beat that.

Now I feel a need to work on a zine that’s so warped, that’s it’s hilarious. Something like Orgazmo meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Something that 90% of the population will be incredibly offended by, and the remaining 10% will worhip as a work of genius. I don’t know if this will be a paper zine or an ezine or an urban legend spread as chain mail or what.

The weird thing is this – I was talking to Michael about a zine he wrote for years ago, and one I read because I talked to one of the editors a lot. We both wished the zine was around like it used to be, and murmurred about ressurecting it from the dead for a project similar to the one I mentioned. But the editor I mentioned had dropped off the face of the earth about six months ago, so we figured the whole thing was a lost cause.

Then, last night, I had a weird dream that I was the editor for this zine. I was at a college campus, reading submissions and doing the layout for a small book-type binding. It was vivid, and I remembered the whole dream, even on the way to work. And once I got to work, the aforementioned editor that I hadn’t heard from in months wrote me some email, and we got caught up. Very strange.

I have a lot to do before the dentist, so that’s it for now. Bill Perry is in town, too, so we have some belated birthday celebrations to take care of…



I watched the Ramones video for their last concert (or one of the ten last concerts, rather) and it’s really fucking depressing. Okay, there’s a lot of funny stuff, like when they were on Sha Na Na, and tons of rare and/or old footage, but the whole video is like watching a divorce. Everyone they interview is like “The Ramones are the best band in the world and gave it 20 years of their all, but too bad they never got a big break or huge record sales like any of their flash-in-the-pan imitators.” And everyone in the band was like “we’ve run our course and don’t want to be doing this when we’re 50, but we have no idea what to do outside the band.” The performances were great, but the big finale was Eddie Vedder? Jesus christ. It is a very well put-together video though, and it has tons of stuff I’d never see otherwise. And Lemmy plays on a song, so it’s a must-have.

Last night while writing, I couldn’t think of the word “smoothie” while writing something about Orange Juliuses. I spent an hour trying to figure it out, and then started calling people. “It’s like a fruit drink… it’s like, fucking… it’s got ice. Made in a blender… freezie – slushie – slurpie – icee –” The whole piece wasn’t even that important, but I get locked into this missing-word freakout because I’m convinced that years of antidepressants have completely destroyed my mind.

I’m on day three of the AC/DC marathon. I wish they made a 600 minute MD, so I could record all of my AC/DC stuff into one giant mix MiniDisc, and antagonize everyone in my general vicinity. I think there are few people that could listen to six live versions of “The Jack” back to back without some form of restraint. I was going to post a bunch of AC/DC lyrics in my journal, but is down.

I haven’t left the house all day (except for a quick trip to the post office and bank) and I haven’t eaten either, so I better shove off and go out into the grey shittiness and find a relatively kid-free McDonald’s or something. Later.

01/23/99 20:30

Guns N’ Roses is allegedly in the studio recording their next album, according to a rumor I heard. The only original members are Axl Rose and their touring keyboard player – everyone else is new. Their assorder resumes sounded reasonable, but there were no big names (i.e. Tommy Lee won’t be playing drums or anything, not that it was a rumor.) I don’t remember the producer, except it wasn’t Mike Clink and it wasn’t Moby. (Moby was really a possibility, I heard from a friend who knows him. It was just a scheduling problem.) Anyway, I expect that in a few months or a year or whatever, everyone will be listening to a new Guns N’ Roses album, and they’ll be headlining Lollapalooza, and the songs will be all over radios and MTV and millions of people will be saying “I’ve been a fan all along.” I hate this shit. I have been a closet Guns N’ Roses fan for about ten years now. Over the last five years when everyone was talking about how Axl Rose was an idiot and would never put out anything else, I still listened to the albums. I don’t know if that’s something to be proud about or not, but it bugged the fuck out of me when 100 million people jumped on the Metallica bandwagon, the same ones who gave me so much shit for listening to them back in high school. The whole music industry is idiotic.

I still haven’t done anything today, except for going to McDonald’s. It’s cold and I 100% know the traffic is bad on I-5. I did get a book from Amazon today that’s a walking tour of many beat generation landmarks in New York. Michael had a copy when I saw him there, and I intend to take some walks and pictures when I’m in town next. And it’s cool reading in the meantime.

I think it’s Nintendo time.

general reviews


I think I have some kind of seasonal disorder. This rain isn’t very fun anymore. It’s 45 and slightly drizzling, but it’s been raining for so long that the sky is always grey and the ground is like a full sponge. Don’t move to Seattle – If you do, show up in April and leave by October.

The CD(s) spending most of the time in my player(s) lately is the latest Saxon album, The Eagle Has Landed. It’s a live album from 1995, and I love it. I used to listen to Saxon back hin high school – I bought a copy of Crusader because Vyvvyan on The Young Ones was wearing a Saxon shirt. I loved their sound, this NWOBHM two-guitar attack with lyrics about British motorcycles and castles and military history and touring the world. Their sound wa kindof cheesy – almost Spinal Tap-esque, but I didn’t care. I grew up on their albums from the early and mid 80s, but when the 90s came around and the albums started looking slightly stupid, I gave up on the new stuff, and stuck to the classics.

Fast forward to 1998, when I felt a need to replace every cassette in my collection with a CD or MD. I had a lot of trouble finding any of the Saxon stuff, although I did find a Dutch pressing of Crusader. Then, this week I decided to pick up this live album, because it had some of my favorite old songs. I guess these guys kept touring and playing all of this time, because they sound really tight. They sound like if Bruce Dickinson was singing for the new Helloween. It’s a great 2-CD set, and it will probably be in my player all weekend.

Aah, the weekend. I haven’t done shit all week, so it’ll be nice to get caught up on Rumored. I’m sure it will be pouring all weekend, so I’ll be at home, on the computer.

I can’t seem to spell today, and I want to finish my reuben. Maybe I’ll get to write some more entries this weekend.


birthday, AC/DC day

Today is unoffically AC/DC day in office 375. I got the Bonfire boxed set last night, and I’ve got two of the five CDs with me today. I think I now own about six different recordings of “Whole Lotta Rosie.” Time to go out and buy one of those leather caps and a Jack Daniels t-shirt.

My birthday is over. It was pretty low-key, and to anybody but myself, would have appeared depressing. After fielding phone calls last night, I went to Denny’s, ordered a porterhouse, and wrote in my journal while eating. Then I went on what was probably my biggest CD shopping spree ever. I got two boxed sets, an Ultradisc II CD, and another double album. The total: $145.96. I think I’ve had other binges close to that, but it’s always nice to set a record. I was inches away from buying the Pink Floyd uber-boxed set, but then I thought it out and realized I have all of the CDs I like from that set, many of them in their new remasters, as opposed to the 1992 remasters. So I stuck with AC/DC.

I’m thinking, since almost nobody reads this, that I might parody another online journal for a while. I don’t know if it would be a specific one or a stereotype, and I’m not sure if it would live here or on another server. I could always get a geocities account. I guess I’ve screwed it up by mentioning it already, but what the hell. I loved Stale when it and Slate first came out. Is Slate even around anymore? What a stupid fucking idea.

Slow day. I’m going to screw around for a while.



Today is my 28th birthday. It feels like any other day in some ways – I’m here at work, I don’t have any plans tonight, and I’m eating my usual sack lunch. It’s a weird year; Bill Perry has the same birthday as me, and we usually do something together. This year, he’s in Bloomington and I’m in Seattle, so that won’t happen. He will be here this weekend, though, so there will be some late celebration. Marie isn’t here either, and I wish I was in New York today, just to hang out and get out of the greyness and miserable weather here.

28 is a weird number. I didn’t like 27 because it’s an odd number, an in-between. I’m no numerologist, but it reminds me of when I was 17, which seems like the first non-landmark birthday. You get a license at 16, and you can do all kinds of stuff at 18, but when you’re 17, there’s nothing. I think you can get into R movies. 28 is also odd because it’s 10 years after 18, and so much stuff happened then. It really opens me up for more “ten years ago…” moments.

And ten years ago… my 18th was on a Friday. I went out with my friend Julia Zehr. We got into her Renault Alliance and drove to University Park Mall, which is vaguely near the Notre Dame campus in South Bend. We were going to eat someplace first and then go to the movies, but we got a late start, and ended up going to the Chick-Fil-A in the mall and eating while we waited in line. We didn’t have time to eat, and smuggled chicken dinners into the theatre. We watched Naked Gun – it was my second time and her first. The thing I remember the most were the long and strange conversations we had while driving in the darkness of the middle of nowhere. Julia is a great person to talk to and it was a great way to spend my 18th birthday.

I have a lot of birthday memories, and a lot of weird stuff has happened on January 20. I made a web page (long since deleted, sorry.that talks about other people who share my birthday and events that have happened today. The page needs some work, but it’s a good start.

I thought today would make me write scads of nostalgic and introspective stuff, but I don’t feel like doing anything. Oh well. Send you credit card numbers, I am thinking of buying a sit-down Star Wars arcade game for my birthday.


late, NYC, dreams

I’m starting late – actually, I’ve been writing for 45 minutes and decided (for the second time) to kill a giant rant about how unhappy I am with other journals out there. I will shut up and keep looking for other similar journals by writers that aren’t just taking up space.

I bought (on Amazon) a book that contains walking tours of various beat landmarks in NYC. Michael had this book when I met up with him last November, and it looked like a cool way to blow an afternoon or ten, not to mention a few rolls of film. I’m going to NYC on 2/10 so maybe I’ll find some of this stuff. I also ordered a long out-of-print book on the early history of Indiana University, in the hopes that their old book service will eventually turn up a copy for under $4000. I don’t know how rare the book is, but it was published in 1970. I heard a lot about it from this pictorial history book of IU I bought last year. It was cited frequently, and sounds like it has all of the details I’d like to hear about when the campus was over by the Kroger a little southwest of the current campus.

I had very vivid and bizarre dreams last night. I was at a very small and shitt theatre reminiscent of the dollar theatre in Bloomington, and they were showing three different trailers to the new Star Wars movie in a continuous loop. I was dressed as Luke Skywalker, in the white robe get-up from the first movie. I think you had to pay once to get in, but people were staying to see the trailers over and over. During a break in the loop, they had a large video projector, and Sean Penn as Jeff Spiccolli was there, playing Rogue Squadron for the Nintendo on the huge screen. (“Whoa dude, these TIE interceptors are most bogus.”) I remember studying the credits to the trailers later, and many of the people’s names were purposely obfuscated for some reason, maybe to prevent people from figuring out the plot or how many special effects were used. Maybe James Cameron was the guest executive producer and they didn’t want people to know. It was a weird dream.

My writing is slowing down a little, although I think there’s a direct correlation between my diet and my muse. I made shake and bake chicken last night and ate until I was about reado to drop. Then, it wasn’t hard to start working on the book. I think I need to keep the fridge stocked to finish this book on time.

Well, I’ve screwed up – I’m out of time, and spending 45 minuted on my previous aborted entry means this is it for now.


unproductive weekend

This weekend wasn’t very productive for me. I had tons of stupid stuff to do – laundry, bills, cleaning, groceries, shopping, etc etc etc and I spent the whole weekend getting caught up on errands. I never got in the mindset to do any writing all weekend, except for a few occasional scraps. I do my best writing when my apartment’s clean, no pending errands are nagging me, and everything is in a state of calm. I don’t write as well when my todo list is full and I feel like I shouldn’t be on the computer. And I don’t get much done when other tasks run into my scheduled writing time.

All of this is sort of a precursor for the big discussion about writer’s block. I don’t know how much I can just jump into this, since every writer and aspiring writer has their own opinion on it. My basic theory is that I tend to freeze up when I don’t have enough structure and I have too much writing ahead of me. When I was blocked on Summer Rain last year, it was usually when I didn’t have a good outline of the chapters I was trying to start. I’d have lots of ideas and thoughts about what needed to be included, but I didn’t know how it would happen, so I couldn’t write. I’ve known writers who don’t have this problem, and a few who don’t even use outlines. But for me, planning is the key. That’s why Rumored to Exist has been such a hard book to write. Because it’s non-linear, it basically has no outline, and I write the ideas that come to me each day, or things I have in notes. I have some pacing, an idea of how much to write each day. But it has been hard to keep up. I used to write more words per day, but a lot of the writing was shit and required major revisions or simply got junked. I guess I’ve been going slower to prevent that.

I was looking through my current paper journal – I use those 120 page, 3-subject spiral notebooks. It’s interesting, because I’m in the final stretch of this one, but I started it at the end of July. I went to the front of the notebook and read some of the entries last night. So much has happened in the last six months, with my relationship with Marie, the summer of extreme heat, getting rid of the Escort. It’s weird that those entries and my current ones are still in the same book. I guess I need to start writing faster. Historically, I go through two of the 120 page notebooks a year, but the last few times, It’s taken me about 7 months to fill one of them up. I think my pace has quickened in the last couple of months, though. I should probably mention that what goes on in my paper journals never crosses over to here. I know some people form their electronic pages by forming a “best of” from their paper stuff, but I’ve found it easier to avoid that.

Still listening to Snap Judgment. I think I’m going to go buy some books online.