The chord progressions (I think they’re called) in the New Pornographers’ ‘Letter from an Occupant’ and Eric Clapton’s ‘Bell Bottom Blues’ are the same. I did not discover this on my own but someone showed me.

It’s just like a tempo thing and now I can’t even remember the chords to tell you but I think it’s wonderful. And how humans really aren’t that bright and how a certain combination of sounds makes us happy or very sad. Like rhyming too. Eric Clapton was so cool at being sad. Cool enough to steal George Harrison’s wife.

I’ve been drinking a lot of lime Gatorade (Elvis’s favorite) and waking up without my car. The sunlight is shorter and more thoughtful. I stole a dog and walked it and felt cooler outside. I am possessed by three songs right now and soon I am going to throw a party in Spanish town. I wrote a much smarter thing for this blog and then I hated it so I decided to write a dumber one. Also, I’m having problems with boundaries, like I’m in love with Neko Case and would like to runaway with her but how can I find her if she’s so famous and Canadian? (actually, I looked it up and she was born here)

This post was about theft and sincerity and conversation. It was meant to be about Billy Collins too, but I’m glad it’s not anymore because I am crashing with three girls who walk around in their underwear and open the fridge, and sometimes it is interesting and mysterious and sometimes it is not but it > Billy Collins right now. Now I think it is about place and adventure. Music. Girls…

What is more useful (also, see necessary): feeling or thinking? What will make our poetry very bad?

Since half of you don’t even live in Baton Rouge anymore I can write about secret places. If you still live in BR I will take you to secret places. It’s what I have to write about before anything else. I thought I was leaving a city but now I have a second chance to be here and it seems important to me in ways I do not understand.

This place that I went to outside BR, in Sunshine, LA, is called Roberto’s on River Road. First, me and Kevin went with Neil Young’s ‘Harvest’ and blew his speakers listening to ‘A Man Needs a Maid.’ (omg, do you know this song?) My speakers are already blown. I do not remember what I was listening to. And you can drive on the levee. Did you know you can drive on the levee?? I would like to drive the levee all the way to New Orleans. I heard this is possible but not straight forward so you have to ask someone who knows.

The second time I went to Roberto’s I went by myself because it made sense and not only do they have amazing po’boys and remoulade, you have to take River Road to get there. I mean, it’s a total shack with old yellow paint and the tables have paper on them which is so fun if you bring a pen and draw pictures for the waitresses who are all ethereals. There is also a string of white lights. There are two strings of white lights.

I took seabird, my station wagon, and I felt free and sad in my car that holds mostly everything I own and you don’t have to drive very far at all to see a cow with three tiny white birds balancing on its head.


Drive the Cutesy Out!

When I was 6 or 7, my dad and I used up a quite a lot of blank paper drawing various ingenious ways for the 7-Up Dot guy to be maimed and killed. You remember the 7-Up Dot? Part of the 80s/90s marketing phenomenon of using cartoon-type mascots to sell anything. Sunglasses. A certain detached cool attitude.

Raisins? Turn them into a rock band.
Ritz crackers? Turn them into weird moon-surfing junkies.
Toothpaste? Wasn't there something about a moon-faced character?

I can't remember them all, but I'm pretty sure Henry Selick (of Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline directing fame) is responsible for the Ritz ads.

Anyway, what I'm talking about here is the primal urge to destroy all things cute and bubbly. How many Barbies have been put in sexually compromised positions or been decapitated? Like McD's hamburgers served, billions and billions.

Have you seen the Happy Tree Friends?

Anyway, I think the urge to destroy the cloying and the cute comes from both an innate sadist dark humor place, but also the need to balance.

Actually, back that up. I was going to go on about how we use the extreme opposite (violence) of extreme cuteness to return to a middle ground. But that's stupid.

What we're really doing is torquing the cuteness in another twisted direction. Making it more extreme. Trying to find the cliff to drive off of instead of safely braking and returning to normal cruising speed.

In honor of bolstering cutesiness with violence/mayhem, here's a classic reimagined.

Don't you just love the cinema?


draftings & scaffoldings

i don't have a desk. this makes me a little bit mad. because who needs a desk to write. i mean how spoiled of me. and what a convenient excuse for not writing. but also because i really love desks. big old desks with drawers. simple drafting tables. this is one part writerly impulse and two parts office supplies fanatic. i love paper clips, colored paper. empty notebooks. felt-tip pens. etc.

this all gets me thinking about process. and what I call the writer's process. For the most part, I have been institutionalized to think of writing as a process. one in which the writer drafts and drafts and drafts and draft and after time and revision and peer feedback a final product comes about. with my younger students, we had a paper-clipping system that helped them see how revision and editing is part of writing. for my college students, this process was more flexible. but it definitely included multiple visions/revisions/versions.

i'm wondering about the writing process. and how some poetry teacher from long ago told me my poems were too much scaffolding and not enough writing. at first I nodded and thanked her. it did make sense. lots of my work began with random or odd beginnings, and down the middle of the page i began talking about "what i really wanted to talk about." this makes sense. this still makes sense. my job as a writer (an editor) was to seek out the scaffolds and tear them down from the final product. or to cut the poem in half. or to find the one line in the writing that "works" and start a new poem. or...

i am supposed to strip down my writing. like a banana. like a lover. and get to the meat of/from the text.

[ in a more thoughtful post, perhaps I'll write about how the writing process perhaps mimics the ideology that nothing (should) come easily. there must be work/process involved. writing, among other things, must be labored. ]

my recent concerns with "the writing process" come from a blog discussion on genre-hygiene. they also come from my deskless situation. revision creates cleaner/clearer writing. writing that has been cleaned up. i know i've used that term with my students-- and my writing teachers have used that with me. I've had my sentences cleaned up with a comb. and, I will admit, it does make the writing more pleasant. but what is this impulse and where does it come from?

Certainly there are distinctions between academic, creative, group writing-- etc. The type of writing that goes in your journal, the type that goes on a blog or in a book. But it certainly seems that the more public the writing, the more the need to clean it up. brush its teeth, and so on.

not sure where I'm going with this. thoughts...

I'd write more but i need to go take a shower. ha.ha.

first stuff