One of the delinquent qualities I harp on, in the fiction that disappoints me the most, is the lazy sameness of it all. I don’t mean they’re all made of the same plots, or all equally under-worked and under-realized, or all in first person present continuous, or too often about bad relationships or middle class wilderness epiphanies or gifted and/or evil children. It’s more that everybody keeps drawing with the same six obvious crayons. Achieving the kindergarten’s bulletin-board “Art” Gallery effect of cloying, across-the-board Blah. You can (you must) push the form; (re-) extend the boundaries of the comprehensible (in … Continue reading TRAILBLAZING (IN A BRUSH FIRE)


  We are clumped together in a bewildering welter of struggles against precision-tooled not-good things (ranging from chintzy to show-stopping in appearance and effect) but most of us don’t know it. Many of us sense it,  dreamily, yes. The sensing hasn’t matured into an understanding culminating in a useful response. Things are vague.  Our Army lacks coherence. We are tossed into the battle by birth and more often than not simply age out of Existence before we manage to fire a single shot in the War. There’s the mad scramble for Status preoccupying us but to how many of us … Continue reading THE TRENCH


1THE CAMPFIRE GENE; THE CAVEMAN in the JACKET PHOTO   Roughly ten years ago I was up  late (as any writer with a baby in the house may find his or herself, gloating over those hours alone), searching the Internet for info. I have no idea what I had been seeking but what I ended up finding was a crude text on an ugly site, a “true crime” narrative written by someone with very, very little literary skill or apparent intelligence. The author’s  goal in writing this thing I found myself reading was nothing more fancy than recording experience, a thing … Continue reading THREE THINKY THINGY-BOBS

THE CLOAK ‘N DAGGER PENTAMETER: a review of Paul Beatty’s THE SELLOUT and a look at several other shitty books and why they’re Hyped

The well of culture has been poisoned with propaganda. It may not be as lethal as a literal well-poisoning but it is as sickening. Culture is now, essentially, the liquid that happens to be flowing through the pipes of The Media. It is no longer grounded in, or determined by, local conditions (via community gatherings, bands, local art movements, word of mouth, samizdat and any other low-budget repositories or propagators of Culture). The Media are global tools of their various powerful owners, obviously, and though these many powerful owners each have agendas of their own, and are probably more often … Continue reading THE CLOAK ‘N DAGGER PENTAMETER: a review of Paul Beatty’s THE SELLOUT and a look at several other shitty books and why they’re Hyped

The Smell of That Prize-Winning Pig

I get lots of nonsense in the in-box of my email and some of it is my own damn fault. There’s a zine that seems to be a front for a scheme for separating would-be Hemingways from their lunch money (the old modelling-school con, you know: in which people who are coaxed into fantasizing beyond the harsh reality that models are born, not schooled, pay good money to pretend to be born models for a year or two) and it does a good job of showing how many bad writers are crawling around out there with nice headshots and official … Continue reading The Smell of That Prize-Winning Pig