Divining the Masculine

This essay on religion, science, gender and the Earth is one of the most difficult things I’ve written.

Part One ~ Part Two

The composition process felt like torture. I fully expected it would require serious revision, but it was accepted and published as-is in the collection Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral: Men in Ritual, Community, and Service to the Goddess (2016, Immanion Press). It’s been a year, and now it can be republished electronically, so I’m gratified to share this via Return to Mago.

I Think I'm in Love

Kerry Wins at Last

I’m super excited and frankly stunned to learn that I’m the winner of the Sherman Chaddlesone Flash Fiction Contest. My story, “Kerry Was in the Kitchen, Cooking” will appear in the next issue of the New Plains Review. It’s a great honor, only my second fiction publication, and the cash prize doesn’t hurt right now either.

It took my protagonist, Kerry, a while to get here. In fact, I wrote this 1000-word vignette 25 years ago. Maybe 26. As far as I can recall, only one other person ever read this story till now. Maybe two. I’m a little hazy on the details.

Anyhow, I’m sure glad I recovered that file from the Brother WP500 diskette on which it languished for so long.

Box o'floppies

There’s a lot more where Kerry came from…

Photo by Jeremey Keith, licensed under Creative Commons.

Return to Mago

I’m honored to have work featured in Return to Mago. It’s an online magazine dedicated to “the Primordial Knowing originating from the Great Goddess, Mago.”

Mago Logo

Here’s more about the Magoism mission:

Our vision and intention is to advocate for feminist and spiritually-based activism and to promote creative and scholarly work that supports the awareness of the oneness of all entities in the universe. Our hope is to reclaim the WE in S/HE, uniting all beings across differences of gender, culture, race, ethnicity, class, ability, and species. In doing so, we seek to create a world that is non-ethnocentric, non-racist, non-capitalist, non-imperialistic, and counter-patriarchal.

A tall order to be sure, but I’m fully on-board. I’m doubly honored to be one of the few male contributors to the magazine. You can find my contributions tagged under my name. Check it out.

Tagged

Tags

Hopefully you’ve been following my column on Mid-City Messenger, now into its second year. I’m doing my best to keep up a regular weekly rhythm, with fresh content every Monday, alternating between prose and photos. I’ve now got my own tag on the site, so check it out.

Books Books Books

Suddenly my personal bibliography has quadrupled.

I’m honored to have essays in two new collections. As if that’s not enough, I’m also thrilled to announce the publication of my own book at long last.

Finding the Masculine in Goddess’ Spiral, edited by Erick DuPree, came out from Megalithica Books in February. Godless Paganism, edited by John Halstead, is a crowdfunded effort that came out earlier this month.

Godless PaganismFinding the Masculine in Goddess' Spiral

On the face of it, these two titles might seem contradictory. Goddess and godless? What a difference one letter makes! How can this be?


Well, it’s complicated, but that’s what makes this subject matter so interesting. I encourage you to get both books and decide for yourself whether I’ve lost my mind.

Still with me? I hope so, because as exciting as those publications are, there’s more. It might seem like overkill, but it just so happens that I finally finished my own book, which I’ve been working on since 2012.

Spinning in Place

It’s titled Spinning in Place, and it’s about the Wheel of the Year. You know, the solstices and equinoxes and cross-quarter days I’ve been yammering on about for so long. Some of these essays have previously been published in various online venues, but I’ve revised extensively and there’s new material as well. It’s currently available exclusively through Amazon as an ebook. And it’s priced to sell. I don’t wanna make any money, folks; I just love to share Earth-based spiritual practices.

(That’s a joke for my Hoosier readers who may remember Don Davis of Indianapolis. Don passed away in February, but his commercials live on in our collective memory. And of course YouTube.)

Now it’s time to get the word out. I’ve got my author page set up on both Amazon and Goodreads. I’m available for interviews. I’ll be mounting a campaign on social media in the near future.

And, yes, I could use your help. Please do share this link with anyone who might be interested. If you’re able to review any of these items on Goodreads or Amazon please do. And don’t be shy about being honest. No one is really fooled by those books that have nothing but gushy, glowing, five-star reviews.

Please Forward

Please ForwardI know I shouldn’t be excited about something so grim but nevertheless I am happy to announce that Please Forward will soon be available in bookstores (officially on August 15) and is now available for pre-order at all the usual places, including my favorite bookstore.

This anthology collects online writings that erupted in the aftermath of the flooding of New Orleans in 2005. As such, it’s a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, upon which I have expounded at some length.

Continue reading “Please Forward”

Six Long Essays

Contemplation (Green)

I’ve been doing it again: writing elsewhere.

I’ve just finished up a series of six essays for College Contemplative on the topic of “Contemplative Faculty Development.”

  1. Introduction
  2. My Story
  3. Stepping into Silence
  4. The Transformative Banquet
  5. Sustaining the Dialog
  6. What’s Next

Read at your own risk; I apologize in advance for the length.

I wrote these in preparation for the Fifth Annual Conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education where I presented on this same topic. More to come.

Writing to Expand the Self

Blurred Reflection of a Dream

I promised to write about my three regular practices: meditation, baking, and writing. The last topic should be the easiest to address. I’ve been doing it the longest, and I feel as if I understand it somewhat.

And yet: Surely it’s foolish to write about writing. Hasn’t it all been said, or written, before?

Come to Think of It

When I was very young, I think I wanted to be a fireman and a garbage collector at various stages. Those are apparently common aspirational points for little boys.

As an adult, the only thing I’ve ever opened my mouth to say I wanted to “be” was a writer.

In fact, I have been writing, and writing, and writing for much of my life.

Yet I’ve scrupled to call myself a writer, because I’m self-published. I still remember the shock I felt when someone introduced me as a writer. And why not? She knew me primarily through my writing.

The vast bulk of my writing in recent years has been here, on this self-published website. I’ve dismissed this as “just a blog,” dismissed myself as “just a blogger.”

At some point over the past summer, I realized I was doing myself a huge disservice. I shouldn’t dismiss something that’s so important to who I am. The act of writing regularly has shaped my life.

It’s a transformative art. At the end of writing something, I’m a different person than when I began. The depth of change depends on the depth of the writing.

Released into the world, words can extend their power. Often they vanish, but occasionally they catch fire. Sometimes I get burned — my words come back to haunt me. But sometimes they open new opportunities. Sometimes they conjure portals.

I resolved, then, to take my writing more seriously.

Word Games

For the most part, I’ve stopped using the word “blogging” to describe this. I’ve stopped calling myself a blogger, except where there’s some strategic advantage. And, indeed, there are times when some advantage may accrue to identifying as a blogger, chiefly when joining with others who are working in the same medium. Strength in numbers, y’know.

The word “blog” is ungainly, even ugly. It has a kind of grotesque feel coming out the mouth. It’s the sound one makes before barfing.

So I accord myself a modicum of respect and call myself a writer. That’s not hubris. I’m not calling myself a good writer. But I am one who writes, and that’s all it means. Graffiti taggers call themselves writers too.

But there’s no getting away from the fact that for the last seven years most of the words I’ve written have appeared on this site, this web log, this blog.

The deeper issue is self-publishing. It’s great to have this freedom, but most of my favorite authors published through others. They engaged that editorial filter with glorious results. I’ve never even submitted a manuscript to a publishing venue. I’ve resolved to do so this school year. More on that later. For now I want to focus on what I’m doing here, on this site.

Frequency and Scope

I’ve kept a journal, off and on, since childhood, long before I wrote my first entry here. It’s a fine process for personal development. It’s listed on the Tree of Contemplative Practices.

For years I’ve aimed to write on this site daily, just as I would hope to do in a private journal or diary. I often fail, but that’s the guiding rhythm. It would be difficult to overstate the general effect of this rhythm on my consciousness, on my sense of identity.

So: If I change the rhythm of my writing, I change the rhythm of my life. For the last few months I’ve been aiming to write here weekly, more or less. This has given me time to mull my topics over, and to engage in a process of revision and expansion that lasts over several days. Some of the results, at least, should be obvious. I’ve been writing longer pieces. Too long perhaps.

In my daily rhythm, I tended to adopt a narrow scope, looking at just one incident or idea and riffing on that. Breaking life into little fragments like that was fine, but lately I’ve been wondering about the whole. I’ve been wanting to attend the endless interconnections.

I am trying to deepen my writing, to strengthen it, and to integrate the diverse aspects of my life through this process.

Problems

There are some problems with this approach, for the reader at least. I’m ending up with slabs of a thousand words, or maybe two thousand. They seem to make a coherent whole to me, but they may look like impenetrable thickets from the outside. In other words, my readership may be suffering. I’m sorry about that, and I am making an effort to exercise restraint, to write concisely. Unfortunately I am not succeeding quite yet.

Also, in trying to take writing more seriously, it may become too serious. Turgid. Dry. Boring, sanctimonious, presumptuous, arrogant, and self-important. I have some tendency toward all these traits, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see that reflected in my writing. It’s my dour Nordic heritage asserting itself, perhaps.

Mechanisms

It’s great to “begin with the end in mind.” However, that’s not always possible with truly transformational processes. When you wrestle with angels there are unforeseen consequences.

How does it work? Writing constructs reality. Words have a power, when uttered, when written. In some sense all language is a lie. But also, words can become truth, overwhelming weak reality. “We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges.” (Props if you can identify that quote.) By writing I’m creating the myth of myself.

But there’s another way in which writing is transformational, more mundane but just as profound. In a word: research. For example, I encountered ideas about emergence as I wrote an account of what’s been going on in my life lately. Through these investigations I found my soul. One could say that writing is my religion.

Such are the fruits of the project I’m setting for myself.

Hamstrung

If I haven’t written here as much lately, perhaps it’s because I feel constrained from public discussion of many of the topics which are currently preoccupying me.

  • There’s an election coming up, and I’ve got opinions, but I’m afraid to express them. Whoever wins, FOLC will have to work with them. It won’t help FOLC’s cause if the president (me) makes public pronouncements on one side or the other. Whoever gets elected can wield considerable influence for (or against) the greenway project. Therefore it seems most wise to keep my mouth shut.
  • Speaking of the greenway, we’ve been having some frustrations there as well. It’s related to the mess outlined by the American Zombie. FOLC has sent a letter to the administration and continues to try to get a meeting. There’s plenty more to say, but discretion seems advisable at this juncture.
  • On a more personal level, there’s been some unfortunate infighting amongst my co-workers. Not in my unit, happily, but close enough to impinge on me. It’s actually been fascinating, in a sad way, to see all this unfold, but I’ll be damned if I write about it. That could only serve to embarrass those persons involved, and possibly my employer. I resolved long ago not to embarrass my employer in my writings here. That’s in fact why I never mention my employer by name, and just refer to “the University.” I like my job too much to play it any other way.
  • By the same token, I’m not going to write about Xy’s discontent with her work environment, except to say it’s bad. Real bad. Leaving the interpersonal differences and administrative challenges aside, she’s sick of the hours. So am I. She’s tired of working a ten hour day and then having a couple hours of homework per night. She feels she’s missing out on her daughter growing up. So she may well be looking for another line of work come fall.

If no one read this blog, I could sound off on any topic with impunity. If I had a huge readership, I could perhaps wield some influence through my writings. As it stands, I’m in that broad middle zone where I get just enough attention to constrain but not enough to liberate.

And of course what’s going on in Haiti right now makes all this seem rather trivial, but I don’t have anything insightful to add about that either.

So I just don’t have anything to say right now. Sorry.

Five & Dime

It’s been a little over five years since I started blogging here in earnest. I thought this would be a simple extension of the journal-writing I’d done off and on for years. The main difference, I supposed, was that I would be less likely to write about the minutiae of my life, that I would omit mundane details in an effort to keep things interesting. I imagined my audience would be small and obscure. 1,760-odd posts later and my readership is indeed small, though bigger than I imagined, and not nearly as obscure. I know many of my readers, and many friends and relatives keep tabs on me through this blog. Which is great, only it gives the lie to my early naïveté. Writing here is not the same as writing in a private journal, not by a long shot. I’m no longer worried about being boring. My primary worry is being too honest. My parents read this blog. Nuff said? My years of writing here have overlapped Katrina, a big story arc which I am glad to make public. But there are plenty of personal details that I won’t put here, and generally speaking those are the juiciest parts. Sex, drugs and acrimony. Get the picture?

Once I started this blogging business, I stopped keeping a private journal, but I’m realizing the limitations of this approach. So now I’ve started journaling again. I will keep blogging too, but perhaps less frequently. For quite some time I’ve aimed to post here daily. But there are only so many hours in a day, and my current challenge is to find a way to juggle my several writing projects, to discern what goes where, and find other means to give vent to the peculiar pressures that drive me on.

Speaking of anniversaries, it’s been ten years since Xy and I moved to New Orleans. Most of those years were pre-Katrina. It sure doesn’t feel that way, though. These post-Katrina years seem heavier, they weigh on me more, and they tip the balance toward the present. I know Xy and I lived here for six years before the storm, before the flood, but those years seem so distant and faint. The damage to the city feels like damage to my brain. But that, after all, is why I keep a journal, and a blog.

Here’s to another five, and another ten.

I’m Back

I took two weeks off. During that time I barely left Orleans Parish, except for a couple errands. I rode my bike into Metairie via Veteran’s Boulevard. Don’t ever try that; you’re taking your life into your own hands with the traffic and the lack of any provision for bicycles. Mostly, I spent most of my time at home or in the surrounding few blocks.

And yet, despite my geographical stasis, this was an odyssey of epic proportions. A spiritual odyssey. Hell, that trip to Metairie felt like an epic journey, but that’s a story for another day. I encountered a broken lamp post on Veteran’s Boulevard:

Broken Streetlamp

It was an icon of things to come. The whole excursion to the suburbs was really only a prelude to a descent into the Abyss of the Self. I feel like I’ve been torn down and put back together over the past fifteen days.

I’ve heard plenty about the stresses we’re under here, how we’re all on edge in this devastated region, how our mental health is fragile. Personally, though, I’ve felt pretty good. After all, only half our house was destroyed, we didn’t lose any loved ones, we still have our jobs, we are actually living in our home, we had adequate insurance coverage and no real hassles with our insurer, we are working with a contractor we know and trust to renovate our home, and our neighborhood appears to be coming back in some form. In short, we count ourselves lucky. And happy. And healthy.

And yet. Since returning to New Orleans I’ve been extraordinarily busy, not just at work, but going to all sorts of neighborhood and community meanings. Everything around here is broken, and it all needs to be fixed simultaneously, so the impulse is to pour all one’s heart and soul into every aspect of rebuilding. But that doesn’t change the fact that we are living in very weird, stressful, screwed up circumstances. By keeping so busy, might we be neglecting our own psychic needs? Could it be a form of escapism, a way of not having to deal with reality?

Of course, civic over-involvement is just the tip of the iceberg. There are other escape strategies. Case in point, on my way back from that ill-advised bike ride, I stopped for lunch at the Bulldog on Canal Boulevard. Two guys came in and ordered a pair of Irish Car Bombs with beer chasers. They had to drink ’em fast to get back to work.

I’ve been doing things like that too, though not quite as extreme. Yet these escapes may not be effective. They may not be escapes at all, but dead ends, traps.

Lakewood Corner

Without time to pause and reflect, who’s to say?

In retrospect it feels like that is what my “vacation” was really about. I took some time off from most of my daily routines and gave myself some room for reflection, contemplation, rumination, and other Latinate words that end with “-tion.”

What I found was not always pretty. There’s a lot of weird, stressful, screwed up stuff going on inside. I think this became most evident when I engaged in a creative writing project of sorts: I decided to spend a little time each morning writing down my dreams. Not the dreams I had when I was asleep, mind you, (though I did keep a dream journal back in the early ’90s) but waking dreams, daydreams, the thoughts and fantasies and speculations running through my head. Most of my writing lately has gone into very straightforward journaling (like this blog) and I thought it would be good to spend some time writing down my dreams instead. But I was surprised at how dark and depressing these dreams turned out to be. I’ve always had a morbid streak, but damn. The fear of aging and death and dying kept coming up again and again.

Again, twisted dreams are just the tip of the iceberg. Aside from these writing experiments I had some plain-old blues. And (mild) anxiety attacks. And sleepless nights. And so forth. Changing up my routine brought a lot of personal issues to the surface. These aren’t Katrina issues per se, not for me anyway. A lot of it is good old-fashioned existential angst, the dues we pay for being alive. But Katrina has provided many excuses to let these issues fester and take on a decidedly unpleasant odor.

I was surprised, but not shocked. Any journey into the Self is bound to have some difficult twists and turns. Of course, recognizing fears and problems is the first step to confronting them. These developments were incredibly positive in my mind. Yes, there are cracks in my foundation, fissures in the edifice of my soul, but I’m working on it.

A cautionary note to my fellow travelers: Make sure you deal with this stuff before it deals with you. The holidays are approaching and stress levels will be on the rise. Don’t forget to attend to your spiritual well-being, whatever that entails.

Lest this all seems too too heavy and hopelessly confused, here’s some other things from my vacation:

  • Halloween:

    Dry Ice

    We had maybe eight or ten kids come by, and one even wore a costume. Xy got some dry ice (from the local Airgas) for a science lesson at school, then brought the leftovers home for spooky yet educational experiments on our front porch.

  • Alexis and Loki’s wedding was the coolest.

    Alexis and Loki

    (photo by Maitri)

    The highlight for me was hearing Sandra Dolby sing. You can hear some of her music here, unfortunately limited to 30 second samples from a CD that appears to be sold out, but it gives a notion of how haunting and beautiful her voice and guitar are. The CD is for her mother, but the songs at the wedding were for her daughter, who just happens to be Alexis.

  • I voted.
  • I took Milo and Biggs to the vet.

    Boxed

    They didn’t like being boxed up, but they were extraordinarily well-behaved when they got there.

  • I spent five hours at the Saturn dealership on the West Bank while they worked on our car. At least it gave me time to finish up Justina Robson’s Living Next Door to the God of Love.
  • I went to some planning and community meetings. Yes, even on vacation. I can’t stop myself. I told you I had issues. In fact they seemed to ramp up to two a night instead of just one.

    Milwaukee's Finest

    At one meeting I heard John Norquist extol the virtues of tearing down inner city interstates. (But at least the Monday night Mid-City Recovery Planning meetings have come to an end.)

  • I cleaned up my home office and rearranged our living room. Doesn’t sound like much, but the mess in my office was years in the making. Cleaning that up was a spiritual experience in and of itself. But like most profound spiritual experiences, it’s totally boring to anyone else but fascinating to me.
  • I visited Xy’s school and videotaped some girls doing a song they wrote to send to a class in New York City… it’s a long story, but I’ll post the video eventually, when it’s edited. What was really cool was I got to see Xy teaching and she is definitely at the top of her game.
  • I went to see Mark Mothersbaugh‘s “Beautiful Mutants” show with MaPó at l’Art Noir in the Bywater.

And to round it all out, since I can no longer aspire to brevity, here’s the latest article on our renovation by Stephanie Bruno, which appeared in Saturday’s paper with a very nice photo.

WASHING AND WARMING AND WAITING
Saturday, November 11, 2006
By Stephanie Bruno
Contributing writer

NOTE: In the weeks since we have visited Bart Everson and Christy Paxson in their Mid-City home, work has been on hold while the couple’s trusted contractor completed other jobs. But the advent of windy, cooler nights finally prompted the couple to call, and now their contractor is poised to return.

At 6-foot-4, Bart Everson might seem like an unlikely candidate to enjoy tub baths. But one of his Top 10 criteria when shopping for a house with his wife, Christy Paxson, was a roomy claw-foot tub, and that’s one of the many advantages that the house on North Salcedo Street offered.

The house had a shower, too, but “our shower was in the basement, and that’s the area that filled with floodwaters,” Everson said. With work on repairing the couple’s downstairs living area suspended while contractor Mike Kaplan dealt with other clients’ needs, tub baths have been the only option.

“In fact, I prefer tub baths, but it depends on the season,” Everson said. “It’s been so long now since I’ve had a choice, I’ve almost forgotten. Oh, yes, it’s showers in the summer and baths in the winter. Slipping into a steaming tub of water on a hot summer day just isn’t that enjoyable.”

Everson contacted Kaplan recently and expects that work on the second bath as well as the guest room, laundry area and den, which also are downstairs, will soon resume.

“I know how busy Mike has been and how difficult it’s been to juggle jobs and help as many people as he could,” Everson said. “He’s like every other contractor in town in that he has also had to deal with an unstable labor force. So because our situation wasn’t as urgent as some others’, I held off calling him. I never doubted for a minute he’d be back sooner or later.”

“Sooner” started sounding a lot better than “later” a week or two ago, when a few windy cold fronts blew through town.

“At the time, there was no trim installed on the basement windows on the inside, so when the hard gusts ripped through, the windows would swing on their ropes and bang against the frames,” Everson said. “Let me tell you, it’s pretty spooky trying to sleep upstairs with those sudden loud crashes coming from the basement.”

The downstairs doors caused a similar problem. “They were in place but not secure, so this week I took vacation and have a list of things to get done on the house,” Everson said. “One was to buy knobs and deadbolts for the downstairs doors. We weren’t worried about the windows as a security risk, because they’re protected with sturdy burglar bars. But the doors needed attention, and now the new knobs and the dead bolts are in place, and we can sleep better at night.”

The couple has accepted a few more inconveniences while awaiting the return of their contractor. For one thing, their laundry area was in the basement, so they’ve been visiting the Laundromat since their return home last fall. For another, they have needed to use flashlights from time to time to see things upstairs in their living area.

“That’s because none of our ceiling lights work,” Everson said. “It’s not just a matter of bulbs, it’s the wiring. When Mike came last fall to work on the electrical and get us up and running, he worked from below to repair the wiring that goes to our base outlets and light switches upstairs. But the wiring for our overhead lights is all the old knob-and-tube, and we agreed it would be best to disconnect it from the system and then replace it. Without those overhead lights, it can get pretty dark upstairs, and sometimes flashlights are in order.”

Once Everson finally called Kaplan, the contractor committed to returning in a few weeks, which Everson translates as “after Thanksgiving,” a holiday Everson and Paxson plan to share with Kaplan and his wife.

On Kaplan’s return visit to the house, the wiring issues will be addressed and other critical items — like the freely swinging window sashes — tended to.

About the same time, Everson and Paxson expect to welcome to town their friend Joe Nickel [sic] from Missoula, Mont. Nickel is a journalist for the Missoula newspaper, a co-producer of Everson’s television show and also, as luck would have it, a tile setter.

“Joe is coming down to set the tile in our downstairs shower. We’ve been planning this ever since the storm, but now Joe’s wife is expecting, so he either comes now or it’s never.”

With the doors and windows secure, the contractor scheduled, and the tile setter almost en route, Everson has one more chore to tend to this week, a cleansing of sorts that he likens to a ritual.

“I’m going to clean the basement windows. It’s a little thing, but they are still covered in dirt that the flood waters left behind. I’m going to wash that all away.”

. . . . . . .

Stephanie Bruno can be reached at [email protected]

The picture for this article isn’t online, I don’t think, but it showed me washing one of the basement windows. It should be noted that I cleaned only one window, for the benefit of the photographer. Also, Mike isn’t married, and Xy will be visiting Bloomington for Thanksgiving. Also, J’s trip to New Orleans has been delayed until early January. And I’m proud to report they posted this article on the board at Bayou Coffee House.

Anyway, that was my vacation. Damn. Vacationing is hard work. So I’ve come back to the University for a while, just to give myself a break.

Finally

I did it! I finished my novel.

It’s not the 50,000 words required by NanoWriMo. It’s only 21,469 words. So it’s not actually long enough to be what most people would consider a novel. More like a novella.

Oh, yes, it is a steaming pile of crap. But it’s mine, all mine. I made that crap. Me.

And I’ve learned something very important along the way: Writing fiction is really hard.

NaNoWriMo Update

I’m at 15,508 words. The month is more than half over. Ideally I should be over 25,000 words at this point. I seem to be averaging about a thousand words a day, and at that rate I’ll never make 50,000 by the 30th. Oh well. I’m taking today off work. Maybe I’ll write 10,000 words. I’d be happy with 5,000. Hope springs eternal.


Four days later: I ended up writing 4,000 words that day, and not one word since.

NaNoWriMo Week One

I’ve been working on this novel for seven days now, and I’ve written 7,402 words. They’re not necessarily good words, but NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality. I try to remind myself: “That’s what second drafts are for.” The idea here is to turn off the internal editor and write furiously. I have a hard time doing that. I think I’m a competent prose stylist, but when it comes to character development, or dialog, or plot — my god, plot! — I’m really for shit. In fact I have been actively trying to turn off my stylistic concerns to focus on all this other stuff, which means that what I’m writing really sucks on every level.

I’m not even sure I have any interesting ideas. Every day so far has been a real challenge, a veritable emotional roller coaster. I get depressed, think it’s a waste of time, think there’s no way I can do this, but then I find inspiration. Today was the toughest day so far, coming right on the heels of my most productive day. It’s mysterious.

It might have helped if I’d started this thing with a clearer idea in mind. But I started vague, very vague. I may be getting vaguer.

It’s been very good for my health, though. I’ve gone out for a jog around the bayou every other morning, which seems to be a good way to wake up.

Rachel is planning Sunday write-ins, but I’m not sure she’s done the math. If you only write one day a week, you have to churn out 12,500 words per session. Which is a lot.

Then again, if you’ve done the math you’ll see I’m not on target to reach the 50,000 word goal by the end of the month either, so maybe I should shut up and write some more.

I’m sticking with The Vibrating Telemarketer as a title, but it’s an entirely different book than the one I tried to write in the summer of 2001. You can check my progress via my NaNoWriMo profile. I found Benn’s profile but not Rachel’s. Could they be ghostwriting for each other? Could that be a subplot in my novel?

NaNoWriMo

I think I’m going to participate in the National Novel Writing Month. I’m going to try to write a novel in thirty days. I don’t know if I can, but I like reading novels, so I’d like to try writing one.

I started writing a novel back during the summer of 2001. The working title was The Vibrating Telemarketer. The title may have been the best part. But after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, the novel seem stupid and irrelevant, so I put it aside.

Thanx to Rachel for cluing me in to NaNoWriMo.

Fifteen Year Streak

Fifteen years ago today, I was arrested on the campus of Indiana University for not wearing clothes.

Even after all this time, I can’t think of anything more to say about the incident. I already said it all, in an article I wrote eight years or so ago for bc magazine, under the tutelage of Bill Bauer. I still think it’s one of the best things I’ve written.

Thanks, Bill, for having the vision to develop that story.