Friday, September 5, 2014

Cover to Cover.


Tagged by DA GAWD Ulises Farinas here are 10 Books that have stayed with me. Some of them literally, in that I brought them with me from Florida, but mostly figurative. I'm gonna do this without comics bc those beautiful things deserve a list of their own. A LOT of these were Russian or assigned reading but I am a beautiful soul who read EVERYTHING.

Outside of #1, the order is arbitrary. 

1) Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

For my money, the greatest novel in the English language. Nabokov, a native Russian, set out to write this as an experiment- to see if he could turn something so ugly into something so beautiful through the lense of language. And he fucking did it. Nabokov always regretted not writing it in his native Russian- he translated it in 1965, but had he done it originally it would likely be the most perfect prose ever written.

2) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

I was sad and straight-edged in high school and girls didn't like me- only one of those has changed. I must have posted about that fucking green light all over LiveJournal. I look at it now as more of a cautionary tale than a manifesto.

3) Buddy Holly is Alive and Well on Ganymede, Bradley Denton

Probably the biggest inspiration on my imagination. I read it when I was 8 and it warped my mind, the idea that context and history could be fluid. It has also inspired many a delightful pun.

4) Lord of the Flies, William Goldman

Where I learned to be mean. This book opened my eyes to the idea that happy endings don't always happen and that you don't truly know a person until they have nowhere to hide from you.

5) A Hero For Our Time, Mikhail Lermantov

Shout-outs to my optimists. It's a collection of short stories all involving the delightfully downtrodden Pechorin, a guy who could use a pick-me-up. Came into my life at the right time, like a satellite signal, a perfect bounce.

6) Crime & Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevskii

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevskii is the king of consequence. The prototype for my favorite movies. I recently just saw the unbelievably great BLUE RUIN and this is all over that, a gorgeous shade of it.

7) Catch-22, Joseph Heller

Nails it. Absolutely fucking nails it. The humor is knife-sharp, the growth of the characters is organic. Essential for anyone who ever wanted to write humor or really anything. Shout-outs to Nately, you dumb fuck.

8) Flowers For Algernon, Daniel Keyes

So good. It's a bit of a potboiler, which is fine, and curse it to hell for making it okay for garbage like I Am Sam to come out. Keyes is great at the subtle revelations without manipulation and the meta-textual meddling is superb. Probably my favorite last two sentences in written history.

9) Fathers and Sons,Ivan Turgenev

Introduced the first nihilist in Russian literature, our boy Arkady was considered a madman instead of a practical one. One step down from the Russian identity of “What is to be done?” This book proclaims “Why bother with anything?”

10) Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad


Wednesday, August 13, 2014


This week can get bent, so rather than let it break me, let's break the silence.

My brother recently got married to the love of his life and I was honored to be chosen to be the time-traditioned Best Man.

I got to hang out with one of my best friends and spend the day in the glow of true love and it was amazing. I was asked to make a speech, which I had to severely abridge due to personal and public impatience for the open bar.

I quite liked it though, and they did too, but like all authors, we sometimes want to share the carcass where our platters came from, so without further do, here is the entire proposed wedding toast I was going to give, with a bonus joke.

We're here to talk about bonds.

We're here to celebrate a union, a joining of two people and in turn, two families. 

We're here to eat this fancy food and wear these fancy clothes and look our best and shower in lavishness, all because two are becoming one in the eyes of the Lord and the state of Florida. 

-Serge and Marly appear to have a storybook marriage- he's a doctor, she's a nurse, and they met briefly in pre-school, only to drift away as things do and find each other years later. To add to the balance of the equation, they are both of the same ethnicity and our families were less than a half-mile away. The concept of love and the Hallmark ideal of it is based on this ideal, of having someone whose experiences and interests mirror ones own- seems like some things are meant to be, after all. 

That's not to say they are a fairy tale. Fairy tales have trials and tribulations and deceptions and sacrifices, which real life has far more of. There are no fairy tales because they end on the last page, in-medias-res, with no follow-up. No one ever grows old in a fairy tale, they don't see their love bloosm and swell and temper and settle and evolve. They have happy pauses. 

Life ends, all things do. It's written in the stars and in the words that Sergio and Marly were asked to recite to one another, as if it wasn't already imprinted in the way she looks at him when he holds Prince or in the timber his voice takes when he asks her whether she thinks something is cute and as to why that is. 

Sergio and Marly are their own people with their own goals and yes they fight, and yes Serge can and will and always is stubborn and perhaps Marly can be particular as well, but on a basal level, this too echoes the atoms around us- like particles repel, while opposites tend to drift together.

And it brings me back to bonds. Covalent bonds- share electrons while retaining properties of a full cell
-Atoms aren't always equal, and like in all relationships, a covalent bond allows for two molecules to find one another in the ether and bond and overcome their negativity while sharing and strengthening one another through their positivity.

These two have formed a bond, combined with the love in their hearts they form a nucleus, and a nucleus attracts the protons in an atom- all of the positive life and light that then gravitates around that center- much like all of us gathered here today.  Some have already found it, like you couples out here and Sergio and Marly, and some are constantly in flux looking for that other bond to be shared, but ultimately we are all atomic and in search of a center- in search of someone to make us whole. 


transitive verb
:  to warm thoroughly
:  to make (as bread) crisp, hot, and brown by heat


I named the text file CRY WORDS because I think I'm hilarious.

LMK how much you hate it.