Heading down to Portland for PBNA tomorrow. Killer handbill put together by the crack Algonquin graphics team, which basically makes me look like the lead singer of A-ha breaking out on a solo tour, instead of everyone's favorite recluse flogging a dozen short stories. Coolers permitted! PNBA Arena will be packed!
I was challenged to write the Most Boring Facebook Post Ever. Still not sure if I won a ribbon or not.
The Hungarian film festival is canceled again. I sold my umbrella collection online. Some cheeses smell yellow. That weird patch of skin on my neck still itches. Parakeets in a pet store window. Click here for my thoughts on boycotting tar sands. The Bell Jar would be better translated into emojis. I never learned how to string that souvenir ukulele. My band broke up nine years ago. Soccer is called football in England. Here's three ideas for the best return on your investment. I'm stymied about how to spell stymie. Nutella on an organic carrot. Vin Diesel.
Well, the advance copies are here. I sucked my thumb and slept with one last night.
Somewhere in the middle of the city, walking in the driving rain, taking random lefts. Came across a very old and beautiful cemetery out over the water. Cenotaphs, stone arches, rough hand-cut inscriptions. Many names and dates washed completely away over the centuries, the markers worn down like slumped shoulders. As the rain pounded on my brim and leached into my socks, I had that weird sensation of actually understanding the passage of time, a cycle of carbon rearranged over thousands of years, and the pointlessness of trying to influence it in any way. As always, the glimpse of wisdom evaporated nearly as soon as it came, and I was left standing in front of this particular headstone, no more remarkable than dozens of others surrounding it. Who was Sigurour Briedfjord? What could Iceland possibly have been like in 1799? What deprivations did he suffer, pleasures did he take? Although it felt slightly disrespectful, I took a picture and then walked away, head spinning like some young melancholic in a Rilke poem, and immediately hunted down a warm cafe full of people. There, firmly back in the technological inanity of 2015, and braced by an enormous, frothy mug of Tuborg, I Googled Sigurour. Not only was he easily found, it turns out he was a well-respected traditional poet, and you can buy his stuff on Amazon. His masterpiece is, of course, Numa Rimur. So there you go.
Well, I guess this makes it official: You can now pre-order Welcome Thieves on Amazon. It's a short story collection, my first foray into adult literature. It's not out officially until February 23rd, but it's undeniably real. It exists. It has a cover and a URL and a price. Man, it's weird. I've been writing and re-writing some of these stories for over ten years. Others are brand new. On some level, part of me never believed they'd really exist. Want a story collection that is rude, funny, original and promises not to set a single story in a hospital, bar, or Pilates studio? Me too.
Being fifteen and seeing your favorite band for the first time in a tiny club, then seeing them decades later in a "venue" and paying through the nose for your nostalgia...an essay I wrote mostly in wistful sighs.