Archive for October, 2012

graded papers, drank, rode in my buddy’s corvette, yelled at tv showing a football game, swept floor, laughed at tv showing hellraiser 3, briefly appreciated my middle classness in america, and slept.

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yesterday is a lousy song by the beatles and the subject of memoirs and backstories. it is cried over and laughed at. it is for beer and recriminations and bittersweet tears, if you’re down. it has been documented and done.

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your favorite candidate said something awful, but not as awful as the opposition’s candidate, who is satan’s black sales rep knocking on granny’s door.

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much football was played poorly. it may have been the most poorly played football across the board in college history, with the exception of those schmucks in tuscaloosa.

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you did some things in which you took pride and others in which you did not.

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our pasts never quite leave us but are reworked ten gazillion ways, their significance consistently revised and made more or less awful or wonderful, preferably the latter, of course.

 

Some definitions of literary terms suck. They certainly don’t define what I want them to define.

For instance, “realism” should mean at least two things, probably more. On the one hand, “Realism” is an approach to fiction in which everything conforms first to the laws of physics and then to the accepted laws of culture, history, and place. It generally plays life straight, so if we say the story is set in the 80s, no cell phones are allowed, Republicans are presidents, the Cold War’s an issue, Run-DMC is cutting edge rap, and the family’s coming apart. If it’s set now, people text, Obama is president, terror’s an issue, either Run or DMC preaches, and the family’s coming apart. Basically, families are in trouble, some political/cultural issue is explored, or somebody’s coming of age, occasionally through the lens of either Run or DMC.

But “realism” also seems to be, or at least seems to me, to be synonymous with fictional plausibility. This plausibility is not necessarily or exactly the plausibility described above. I mean that something can be realistic if the writer has established clear boundaries for his weird freaking world, holds to them, and makes me believe them. This is a much more interesting version of realism, one that pushes the boundaries of both imagination and form.

Wells Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” offers a pretty low-key, understandable example. Here’s how it starts: “Just as we were all getting back into the mainland domestic groove, somebody started in with dragons and crop blights from across the North Sea.”

We know for sure that the story isn’t going to play on the first definition of “realism.” Yet we’ve got a place (Scandinavia) and dragons (um, no). We also have this modern voice which not only speaks English but American street English. Soon enough, we learn this guy is one of a band of Vikings marauding coastlines at least 1000 years before Run-DMC met Steven Tyler.

This voice, by existing, by speaking, by taking on the task of telling the tale from the first word, established that fictional plausibility. Probably the most interesting thing about this approach is how it simultaneously makes the known world alien and the alien world known. This is the sort of realism I want out of fiction, not the crap which is either so divorced from human life that I have no point of entry or so much the mirror of life that I’m already there and have no reason to go further.

it’s moby dick’s birthday! that book has inspired so much of world culture, including patrick stewart and doom metal.

tomorrow night, i will read from vs. death noises. here is the relevant info:

University of North Florida
Student Union Ballroom
8PM
Free food and water

afterward, i will answer questions and sign books.
if you’re in the area, please check it out.

a notion of what?

Posted: October 16, 2012 in but whatever
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certain aspects of the feeling in question affected me when the situation occurred. thoughts formed in my mind, among other sources, and they led me to believe what was said was true in regard to life as a general proposition. indeed, such matters are worth consideration. i will ponder them on my next free day. the different ideas you shared, by the way, were not as effective as others which might be discussed further.

it’s in the brain and the heart where blood is pumped and delivered that our gut instincts might be maintained or even improved. certainly, without them no value can be assigned to our work. without them, i mean, no work might be done. probably. but you must have a brain and heart. those make you a form of animal life, which is good now and other times. don’t you think so?

Midseason Report

Posted: October 14, 2012 in fun is fun
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We’re halfway through the college football season. Now and no sooner, we can say who’s doing what in the SEC. Am I one of those SEC guys who think the rest of the country is irrelevant? Almost. Kansas State and Notre Dame have drawn my interest. I used to live south of Austin, so the grimness there also has some appeal. But I am southern and this is my blog, so there.

Alabama. No discernible weaknesses. As always, well-coached. They run the deadliest vanilla offense in college football history. They also run the most complex, interesting defense. On the other hand, their toughest opponent to date has been Big Ten mediocrity Michigan. Either they need tougher tests, or everybody sucks that much.

Florida. Here on points, not actual skill. Thus far, the Gators have played well above expectations. Coach Muschamp has been understudy to several championship coaches, but only Saban’s imprint is discernible. This defense hits. The LSU game has made me a believer, but they’re only playing the role of Alabama, Jr, not Florida. In a few weeks, though? We’ll see.

LSU. They’re going to win a lot of ugly ball games. If they can win their next three games (all ranked, all from the East), look out. It’s a big if: Mettenberger might start at Auburn, but nowhere else in the conference. It’s strange. This program develops talent all over the field—except at quarterback. How’s that possible?

USC (low country version). Some Gators still can’t forgive Coach Spurrier for taking this job. I can. I’ve always loved Coach’s digs at opponents. He’s always been the Evil Genius with X’s and O’s, but he’s also one of the all-time great program builders. He’s raised three programs from dirt and hope. It’s clear, though, that the UGA game was not an indicator of this team’s long-term potential. Need can take a team a long way on a single night, but not every night.

Texas A&M. Kevin Sumlin is a good coach. Johnny Manziel’s my favorite offensive player in the country. Their defense, though, is a thin tissue of resistance. Hell, they allowed 57 points to La Tech. This issue requires several years of SEC-level recruiting. Big 12 fans will nod when I say that Mike Sherman is/was clearly a sucky coach.

Mississippi State. They’ve got one more week to benefit from a soft opening schedule. After Middle Tennessee State, they’ve got to take on the class of the East. I doubt the results will be pretty. Tyler Russell looks better than he performs. Dan Mullen performs better than he looks.

UGA. A team of Tyler Russells. Good Lord, is there a worse good coach than Mark Richt? Georgia specializes in underperformance year after year. To allow all those yards and all those points with Jarvis Jones and the rest of those pros is the latest indictment of the Richt regime. As a loyal Gator, I hope he sticks around forever.

Arkansas. I can’t trash these guys. I feel terribly for them and their fans.

We turn here, dramatically, in italics, to the bottom end of the league. Imagine Arkansas as an equator. In the northern hemisphere, football civilization is basically our romantic idealization of Greek city-states, etc. In the southern hemisphere, we see barbarian folk cultures. Some appear headed for literacy and its fruits. Most appear lost in darkness.

Vanderbilt. One day, James Franklin will leave Vanderbilt, and their three fans will be bitter about it. Guys, enjoy it while it lasts. These are the golden years. The team plays with confidence and competence. They’ll get to a bowl. They’ll beat either Tennessee or Kentucky, probably both.

Ole Miss. Hugh Freeze will forever be associated with that cheesy movie my mother likes, but he’s the right coach for this team. They have almost no talent outside Donte Moncrief, but they play with purpose. One day, they will learn to read. At Ole Miss, that’s no mean feat.

Tennessee. It’s hard to remember how great and talented those Tennessee teams were in the late 90s, because everybody I know was laughing at their failures against UF. But they had a great record. That was when the Citrus Bowl was a bitter fate rather than an unattainable dream. Remember Al Wilson, Leonard Little, and those guys? They could still make first string on this defense.

Missouri. Surprise! An undersized team with no running game and no tight end and no defensive talent whatsoever cannot win in the SEC. I’ve watched them play (ironic quotation marks should probably be used) three times, because the networks thought they’d deliver a product as aesthetically pleasing as they did in the Big 12. Alas, the results have been as aesthetically displeasing as my previous sentence.

Kentucky. Head coach Joker Phillips is well-qualified to be a good offensive coordinator somewhere. That sounds like an insult, but in the latter position, Joker Phillips was an integral part of Kentucky’s bowl run. For a time, he made Andre Woodson look like an NFL-caliber quarterback.

Auburn. Mack Brown and Larry Coker will always owe a debt to Gene Chizik. Were it not for his existence, they would be in the running for Worst National Championship coach of my lifetime. But Chizik does exist, and the race is not close. My God, Cam Newton was an unbelievable college player.

Conclusions: Alabama is the class of all ball till proven otherwise. Sportswriting and analysis is easy.

MC Bomb came from smoke, Cheetos, and zombie nights. We built and built. Androids pulled up to listen.  Through it, God spoke abstractions in inspired tongues. No death appeal stead mega unreal. Alphabets couldn’t contain him, only rhymes, barely, and death. That returned, ’cause he knew the time. He wondered who else did. Everybody, really. In other words, his prophecy sucked. Faith drained. We remember his last shout out on the First Street Corner. You know the one. He went quiet off the tears of droids. A bass line worked low behind him. He faded hard, as he foretold.