Once I was done with all my graduation and parties and I’m-going-to-spend-my-whole-life-going-to-parties-and-I’m-even-going-to-make-this-into-a-job-because-I’m-going-into-party-promotions-as-a-business nonsense, I got depressed again.
The real world is just so boring.
I mean, really, what’s the point?
You get a job, you make some money, you get an apartment, you get a girlfriend, you have a kid: so what.
Its just all so less fulfilling than fantasy.
And grad school is a kind of fantasy. Like a fantasy baseball camp.
Grad school is fantasy camp for adults.
“Are you ok,” she asked.
“Is he really just gonna pass out there,” I heard her whisper.
I really tried to get up. I couldn’t get my limbs to move. I couldn’t get my eyes to open.
“Is it anhedonia,” she asked.
I I’d. I just I’d. That’s what I had energy for.
“The loss of pleasure in everyday activities that you once found pleasurable,” she continued asking. She really rattled the words off just like that. The definition of anhedonia was that close to the front of her brain.
“Yeah, its that,” I said.
“Another one – I’m sorry that its gotten that,” she said, “Another one is dysthymia. And then of course there’s melancholia, which is just general low-lying depression. Don’t the words for depression just slide off your tongue?”
This is the point that I realize High Priestess knows she’s in the novel. She’s talking like a damn character.
Good to have at least one self-aware character.
I’ve been reading Chimera by John Barth.
Gardner is so insistent in his meta-writing that it inspires me to meta-living.
Why just live, when you can meta-live?
Don’t aspire to participate in events, aspire to comment on them.
That is the eventual output of our civilization, is it not?
A bunch of hyper-evolved apes commenting on each other?
Let every day be like one of those days when you opened the window on the advent calendar and there was a chocolate inside.
Find the wonder in that. Write the wonder of that.
Writer: find the wonder.
| More Bushwick |
Most badass sea turtle ever.
Turtle, Chapter One
Old Man Frog was my master. I’d been apprenticed since I was ten. Two years left to eighteen, then I think the old man is gonna retire and make me the head watercatcher, which is a cushy gig for life on a ship like this.
Jeni’s mom, well, Jeni’s mom: Jeni and I had been friends since we were born, because our parents had been friends together in the raid, the big raid, the one that got us back on the Turtle. My mom was a weather specialist like me, it runs in the blood, and she summoned, well, I’m told she summoned quite a storm in her day. Jeni’s mom had of course been at the head with her maul swinging too and fro, my mom in the back reigning lightning on the Belandian pricks who were occupying it.
Difference is, Jeni’s mom’d made it. So now she’s a pirate princess. Mine didn’t. I got apprenticed to Old Man Frog. I can’t complain: power of lightning at my fingertips and an assured position on one of the biggest pirate vessels on the forty seas.
More like King in Smell-ow, am i right guys?
In honor of the imminent flood and Rapture, I recorded my short story Books on Tape on tape.
Books On Tape (On Tape)
The Ant Eater started eating whole colonies at once.
It was worrying.
The Walrus of course was hardly the person to comment on someone’s recent weight gain so he kept it to himself.
The Alligator wanted to eat him. Because he just kept getting so big, so fat and juicy on those squishy ant colonies.
That’s a strange thing, to want to eat your friend.
I mean, the Ant Eater once saved her life, when she’d been trapped under that fallen Elephant, the Ant Eater had reached her snout in and managed, actually managed, to pull her out with it.
That’s impressive snouting.
And now she looks like dinner.
The Walrus had always been large, and frankly, the Walrus had always kind of looked like dinner to the Alligator, but a Walrus is a formidable foe. And the Walrus wasn’t just any Walrus. He was kind of a berserker.
He’d lost an ear in a fight with a Sea Lion. Don’t even look at the back of the left side of his head. It looks like someone sewed new skin on there, its so torn up.
But he’d won that fight. That Sea Lion is dead now.
Don’t fuck with the Walrus.
The Walrus decided to buckle down and say something.
They were, of course, hanging out by another ant colony.
Where the Ant Eater had dragged them, because he couldn’t even go two hours without eating Ants.
Not like the Walrus and the Alligator are aquatic animals, and they didn’t go out of their way to go up on dry land just to hang out with their friend or anything. I mean, hey, if I’m coming to hang out with you, I don’t want to just watch you eat ants all the time. You’re killing yourself.
You’re killing yourself, that’s what he said.
That’s what he found himself saying.
And the Ant Eater looked bad: bloated, pale, just rolled out in the dirt covered in Ants. Ants, Ants, Ants, that’s all he ever talked about.
It was sad.
PART ONE OF UNTIL ITS DONE!
Artist's depiction of us sneaking in.
Last time I went to the Horned Ball, I was still living with Edward.
What a motherfucking lunatic.
He’s so crazy he told me to use his real name in this book.
But I didn’t.
Hanging out with Edward, I learned this: if you are friends with a pathological liar, you never have to pay the cover.
We’re from Gawker, he says.
I’m an innocent looking guy. I have an innocent face. I have an inherent Midwestern quality that just makes me look ineffably honest.
Plus I’m a giant. That helps out crashing a party even more than you might think. When I start walking people kinda sorta just start to dodge.
He’s my photographer, he says.
I nod again.
After we’re stamped and in, he tells me he knew he had to say Gawker.
If it was anyone else, they wouldn’t have let us in, he says.
I’m not really sure what Gawker is, even now.
Its some website or something, right?
Anyways, I’m used to going everywhere for free, so we just get stamped and pop in. Inside, its pretty fun.
Edward’s a talker and a charismatic savant. We meet people. We meet a lot of people. We meet some people you maybe don’t necessarily want to know. But we do meet them.
This was the night where Edward took the first steps to joining what he would later describe as a cult, and, I believe, the first steps towards his suicide attempt.
Like I said, people you maybe don’t necessarily want to know.
That was also the night I met Ki. More about her later.
The cult that Edward joined was not the Kostume Kult, btw. It was an entirely different cult. A weird electro-shaman-2012-apocalypse-monster-porno cult. Yes, I said monster-porno. The cult made monster porno.
They called it monsterotica.
That’s a completely different story, the cult thing, one I’ll get to in due time. Lets talk about Horned Ball.
I went. I didn’t know anyone. I couldn’t have felt more welcome.
I spent several days scouting stores to construct a costume. I ended up descending into the undergraduate costume rental shop at the University I attend. I’m not saying I bribed anyone, but I had an awesome costume.
Shorts and shirtless of course. Bouquets of green and yellow fabric spilling behind and around me. Leaves in a garland around my neck. One hand was covered in a gigantic leaf-glove borrowed from the costume shop. The other held a twice-folded leaf-patterned pillowcase full of yellow flower-bearing sticks. As soon as I got there, I had someone paint leaves all over my body.
I was plantman. These are the new hippies.
The theme of this party was Vikings, and berserking was encouraged in the invite, but everyone, everyone I saw, was at peace with themselves and the world.
| More Bushwick |
We took the train across the bridge, the light red against the buildings.
Every time we got to Manhattan we realized there was a nice world after all.
Manhattan has trees.
| More Bushwick |
It was the depression that drew us together.
I was up in the Bronx and she called me.
“Why don’t you come down here,” she said.
“I’m not feeling well,” I said.
“I know,” she said.
“How do you know,” I asked.
“Because I know,” she said, “Me too.”
“Ok,” I said, ”I’ll come down.”
| More Bushwick |
This place was across the street.
When we first moved to Bushwick, it was to cut down on the commute.
She lived in Queens. I lived in the Bronx.
We got two cats. Sisters.
We got two bedrooms.
| More Bushwick |
Totes Animal Besties!
First day I saw a Conch was the first day I fell in love.
I was working at the water tower. It was my job to catch water. A ship does not last long at sea without it.
It was raining, just a little.
Jeni’s head popped over the lip of the ladder. She was wearing her red and black bandana.
I was directing a few minor elemental spirits as they stole water from the clouds and filled the tower with it. You know, standard stuff.
I looked up at her and I was stunned.
Thankfully I recovered before she looked at me.
“Look what I got out of the loot,” she said.
Two brand new Conches. Wow.
“One is for me and one is for you,” she said.
“There are like a thousand of these in the world right now,” I said.
“I know,” she said, “Enjoy.”
“So there was another raid?” I asked.
“Of course,” she said, “The ship can’t sustain itself. Until we get a full food and water system running we need to suplement.”
“Is that what your mom said,” I asked.
She rolled her eyes at me.
“Something like that, yeah,” she said.
“Let’s open them,” I said.
I chained the spirits ethereally and stepped out of the pentagram. Jeni put the Conches on the table. We sat down on those little wooden lab stools I used to have.
They were strange devices: flat, no visible markings, no buttons.
“What are these worth, like one million in magical components alone,” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she said, “And no one else on this ship does either, so keep your damn mouth shut about that, and some pirate won’t take it from you.”
Then she turned it on.
Up leapt dragons and unicorns, aswirl around us in pink and blue.
And that was just the opening animation.
We were hooked.
I had a picture of dragons and unicorns, but I like this one of a pig and a dog better.
You could call anyone. Anyone at all in the world. And since only wizards and rich people had them, everyone would answer.
I called the head of Wizardry at Montsalon. Montsalon!
He talked to me for an hour about a spell I was working on. Just because he wanted to try out the Conch. That’s how I learned to summon storm demons.
Jeni called the head of the Ytl Navy and told them where our ship was. That wasn’t wise. It made me a bit nervous. There are warrants out for my arrest in Ytl. Hers too.
And, then, the topper.
We called the King of Belandia.
And he answered.
“Hello,” he said.
“Hello, is this Adonard the 3rd?” asked Jeni.
“It is we,” he said, “To whom are we speaking?”
“I am the great pirate Jeni! And I have kidnapped the wizard Tuco!” she shouted.
She put her right arm around my neck and with her left hand drew her sword. It was a little intimidating. She was always bigger than me.
She shouted even louder, “I am the great pirate Jeni! And I have kidnapped Tuco the royal wizard!”
A couple of gulls squawked and flew off the tower.
Adonard looked fazed, for a second. Then he turned to look away from the Conch.
He said, “General Darington, do we have a royal wizard by the strange name of Tuco?”
The King nodded, and then he said, “You have nothing of mine. Now be off, or I will have you flogged!”
Its not every day you prank a King.
He couldn’t figure out how to turn off the Conch. He kept fumbling with it. We kept getting glimpses of satin furniture and bejeweled mirrors.
He even dropped the Conch down the sleeve of his robe. We went with it, sliding down auburn silk in the glow of the Conch’s crystal light.
A long arm reached in and pulled us out.
He put us up to his face and spit on us.
He was a mean looking man in a uniform and a mustache. General Darington.
He turned off the Conch.
We rolled around on the floor in laughter.
From that day on she was the great pirate Jeni and I was royal wizard Tuco.
And while we lived on the Turtle, we were never apart.
She wandered in a golden turban, wobbling. Behind her, three other women swayed.
She stepped, sixty-four or older, to the audience. A young man took her hand and thanked her and she looked into his eyes and never stopped singing.
I danced. They played. I started to love New York.