How Do You Like It?

I never knew about this until today. Stanley Kubrick and Shelley Duvall shot The Shining’s infamous typewriter scene in several different languages for the international versions.

From Wikipedia:

For each language, a suitable idiom was used: German (Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen—”Never put off till tomorrow what may be done today”), Italian (Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca – “The morning has gold in its mouth”), French (Un «Tiens» vaut mieux que deux «Tu l’auras» – “What you have is worth much more than what you’ll have”, the equivalent of “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”), Spanish (No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano – “No matter how early you get up, you can’t make the sun rise any sooner”). These alternate shots were not included with the DVD release, where only the English phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” was used.

The original:

I could only find the German version. So, here it is.

Of Blind Pigs

As Father Mows and Grieves for His Lost Youth, Mother's Soul Dies Slowly While Sipping Her Evening Manhattan and Seconal Cocktail. Meanwhile, the Girls Mirthlessly Engage in the Chilly Banality of the Teeter-Totter. Soon, night will come.

David Brooks and I, in a rare alignment of planets, agree on something. Performing his usual trick of writing a book review and piggy-backing on another writer (usually issuing his own spin on the writer’s intentions), he addresses literary darling Jonathan Franzen’s latest book Freedom. In-between the sycophantic flattery to ensure he’s on future guest lists, and chattering about America returning to a uniform spirituality that never happened and which he never sounds like he practices himself, he points out an observation on American letters:

Sometime long ago, a writer by the side of Walden Pond decided that middle-class Americans may seem happy and successful on the outside, but deep down they are leading lives of quiet desperation. This message caught on (it’s flattering to writers and other dissidents), and it became the basis of nearly every depiction of small-town and suburban America since. If you judged by American literature, there are no happy people in the suburbs, and certainly no fulfilled ones.

By now, writers have become trapped in the confines of this orthodoxy. So even a writer as talented as Franzen has apt descriptions of neighborhood cattiness and self-medicating housewives, but ignores anything that might complicate the Quiet Desperation dogma. There’s almost no religion. There’s very little about the world of work and enterprise. There’s an absence of ethnic heritage, military service, technical innovation, scientific research or anything else potentially lofty and ennobling.

It pains me to say it, but Brooks is right. I’ve often wondered about this phenomenon myself. From Sinclair Lewis to Richard Yates to Raygordon Carverlish to Franzen himself, modern writers have portrayed the suburbs as a static purgatory populated by liars, hypocrites, mental cases, drug addicts, adulterers, and people who only seem happy on the surface… BUT WHO ARE NOT. Every suburban town or village in modernist and realist fiction should have a sign standing outside the city limits: “Welcome to ___________: Nobody Wants to Be Here.”

It’s funny that so much of this fiction comes under the heading of realism. While parts are true enough, it is highly unlikely that every person in a town (that isn’t Twin Peaks, which wears its surrealism like a shawl) can be miserable. Hell, let’s go a step further and say it’s patently absurd to leave every member of a modern lit family swimming in a cesspool of existential angst. Hm, I suppose that’s not fair. Authors usually take care to create straw men and women who won’t accept the reality of their and the protagonist’s inner turmoil and woe. But just because it’s fiction, doesn’t mean it has to be unrealistic.

Brooks notoriously paints his pictures with big fat brushes, and his suggestion that the “Quiet Desperation dogma” forbids authors to explore the many outlets humanity has developed to offset feelings of dissatisfaction and ennui is preposterous. Still, from what I’ve read in the New Yorker and New York Times Book Review, it does seem that most modern suburban lit (that accepted as being big L Literature) spins its wheels in the same morass of alcoholism, failed marriage, career disappointment, and so on. These things happen, but they aren’t the only things that happen there. I’d add that I have yet to read an accurate physical portrayal of the suburbs. Most towns sound like they consist entirely of shopping malls and dining rooms.

It requires no stretch of imagination to realize why this is. I think we can make a fair guess that most modern lit is created by those who loathed their comfortably bourgeois upbringing and couldn’t wait to escape to the big city. Speaking as one such individual, I understand perfectly. But the perpetuation of this portrayal of the burbs as a white hell… why it verges on creating a new brand of genre fiction. “Angsty Suburban Fiction? Aisle 3B, between Romance and Mystery. Right after the Humor/Graphic Novels section.”


So, I stepped in some dog shit at lunchtime today. It wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last, sadly, I’m sure. After a trip to the bathroom I was able to pick out (with a plastic knife) all but the most embedded crumbs of dog grumpy from my shoe’s waffle. What kills me is that while much of my trip to and from the Art Institute is a blur, I remember crossing Randolph Street, stepping around a barrier on the other side, and then feeling a momentary sliding sensation along my left heel. “I’m not going to look,” I said. “It was probably some garbage—a bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato.” I hoped for the best and trundled on, unwittingly tracking Canis lupus familiaris feces past the Institute’s van Goghs, Vuillards, and Modiglianis.

During the stepping, I experienced my usual irrational fear that I’d accidentally crushed a baby bird underfoot. Once, as a young man, I unwittingly kicked a semi-formed robin, and when I looked down and saw its shuttered eyes, membranous skin, and pathetically snapping beak, I wanted to vomit. I couldn’t even bring myself to end its misery, and moved on. I’m sure it all turned out okay in the end. Sure.

The fun part came when I was sitting at my desk, and the odor began to waft upwards. I couldn’t quite smell it at first, but the progression of scents and the Proustian thoughts they engendered were interesting.

1. “What is that?”—At first my brain was only attuned to the presence of an out of the ordinary scent. I must have crossed my legs quickly, sending a momentary geyser of scat molecules up into my nose. I couldn’t quite place it, and it hadn’t lingered long enough to be unpleasant. It was more a pungent ghost—a brief breeze of earthiness.

2. “Okay… What the hell is that?”—The smell grew strong, and I began to worry. No one else was around (the person in the next cube was in a meeting), making me suspect I was somehow releasing foulness. I’d showered that morning, and while my belly was making the expected post-lunch digestive grumbles, no matter, gas, liquid, solid, or plasma, had exited Mr. Dan Kelly. Certainly not at my desk, for Christ’s sake.

My next thought was that somehow the cats had dosed my clothes, but to not have noticed it until late afternoon was absurd. Furthermore, if you own cats you know what their crap smells like. Cat refuse smells more like ammonia—at least their pee does, which tends to dominate however bad their dung smells. This wasn’t cat though, it was dog. And I knew this because I was a dog owner long before I started adopting cats. I recognized that sour kibble and meat-tinged pong. Strangely enough, this week we just happen to be minding a dog for my wife’s dad, but I knew that Lola (the dog) had been nowhere near my clothing. Plus, unlike the cats, venal creatures that they are, she had no reason to seek olfactory vengeance on my duds.

But then I remembered that this had all happened before. I looked at the bottom of my shoe. Et voila. Figuring out the source of the smell was easier than the last time I stepped in dog doody. That’s a funny story, and I don’t think I’ve shared it with anyone before today.

Several years ago, the same thing had happened. I was walking to work and somewhere along the way the merest bit of dog log got stuck to my shoe without my noticing—I think there was snow on the ground. When I arrived at work I got my coffee, sat down, and set up for the day. Suddenly, a familiar smell, but familiar only in that I knew it was rectally related, but not necessarily canine. I let it pass, imagining it was an olfactory illusion. Then I smelled it again. It was stronger this time. Still not thinking dog, I imagined this was the work of man. The man in the next cube. Let’s call him Jimmy.

Jimmy was a fellow whom I liked greatly. A talented soul with a wry sense of humor, Jimmy could always be counted on for an appropriately off-color response when, say, the receptionist announced that an earring was found (“It’s mine… But it’s not an EAR ring!” He didn’t make that joke, but they were usually in that vein.). I remembered he’d been sick recently, so I thought, “Well… Maybe he’s having some GI problems, and had to let one sneak out.”

Then I smelled it again.

“What?” I thought, eyeing the wall that separated us. “What the hell?” One was a mistake. Two was ill-mannered. The bathroom was just a short walk away in case the cooling tower had to let off a little steam to avoid critical mass, if you know what I mean. And I mean farts.

Again, the scent of stink arose. My mucous membranes died by the thousands; my nose hairs were singed and reduced to ash.

“JESUS CHRIST!” I thought. I stood up and looked over the wall at Jimmy, who was diligently working away. He looked fairly unbothered by gastrointestinal or any other difficulties, other than his daily duties. He looked back.

“Yes?” asked Jimmy.

“Nothing,” I said.

The perp seemed unperturbed, so I had to rethink my approach. I sat back down and leaned over, sniffing the air beneath my desk. I thought the same things I thought above: cat sabotage, poor hygiene, etc. I kept smelling until I pinpointed the hellish stench’s location. Somewhere near the floor, somewhere down there, around… my shoe. I lifted and tilted my shoes, left, then right. On the bottom of my right shoe, pressed deeply into the soul, was a small bowser sausage. Oops. Hehehehehehehe…

All apologies to Jimmy. I’m glad you didn’t have it in you.

Jesus House Walks

Last week’s house walk was a success. I worked at St. John’s Church as a docent and gofer Saturday morning and afternoon, switching between explaining the Christian symbology topping the lancets on the Advent Window, and setting up canopies, tables, and chairs for the beans and brats feast the church laid out for all visitors. I truly enjoyed myself—it’s rare that I have a live audience, and rarer still when they actually want to hear what I have to say.

After weeks (well, days) worth of study and practice, I was ready to show every interesting item between the narthex and sacristy. As it turned out, I was put in charge of showing off just the sanctuary and chancel—stage three of the tour as I explained to the house walkers.

Sorry, permit me to provide a quick glossary. The narthex is the entrance; the sacristy is the back-stage area where the priests and servers prepare for the service; the sanctuary is at the front of the church, while the chancel is the area surrounding the altar. At least that’s what I was told. I always heard the sanctuary comprised the interior of the church, and while I’d never encountered the word chancel before, I’d heard of the apse—the recessed area occupied by the altar, the tabernacle, the reredos, and other furnishings. (Didn’t understand a single word in the previous paragraph? I completely understand. For me it all comes from a Catholic boyhood and a little Wikipedia skimming. I won’t commit the sin of pride though—the sanctuary and chancel were more than enough, and I had the pleasure of describing three of the church’s prize possessions.

St. John’s is a small church. The congregation numbers at, I think, around 120 or so parishioners, and the building is the size of a large house. While not as sprawlingly awesome and ostentatious as the Catholic Holy Name Cathedral or St. James’, the Chicago’s Epsicopalian cathedral, St. John’s seems large even in its smallness. It reminds me of a nautilus shell, compact and curving into itself.

Just missing the Gothic Revival, but no doubt heavily influenced by it, St. John’s was erected in 1888. For chronological perspective, that’s the same year Arthur Conan Doyle dreamed up Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper was murdering prostitutes in Whitechapel. Chicago’s Irving park—the northwest neighborhood St. John’s is situated in—was somewhat calmer back then. If memory serves, the area was originally called Grayland, because Sheriff John Gray (the first republican sheriff elected in Chicago) owed much farmland there. Gray announced that the tract of land located at Byron and Kostner was available to anyone who promised to build a church. The Episcopalians—who were currently meeting in  masonic halls and a room above a local pharmacy—took the challenge and constructed the current church.

Records state that the church was built by the Cookingham Co. My research turned up no such firm, though I did encounter another one named Cookingham and Clarke in a Trib article from 1886. Cookingham and Clarke announced that they were constructing “Chinese dwellings” (i.e., pagoda-inspired homes) in Ravenswood, another Chicago neighborhood. I haven’t looked into this yet, but I’m hoping that the “Chinese dwellings” were constructed and can be located (I doubt it).

Here’s where things get interesting, yet murky, so we must use a bit of conjecture. Cookingham of Cookingham and Clarke was a fellow named Peter. He had a brother named Theron who lived in Irving Park and worked as a contractor. The very helpful Mr. Tim Samuelson, Chicago’s redoubtable cultural historian, found a family photo of the Cookingham’s and posited (but admitted that this is not a certainty) that Theron very likely was the contractor, and Peter likely could have been St. John’s architect. My research turns up ads announcing applications for builder’s permits by a W.H Cookingham as well, leading me to think this was a family operation. Tim suggested the Britishness of their surname lends some credence to the Cookinghams being Episcopalians. Sounds like an excellent starting point for further research.

On enters St. John’s through the narthex on the west side, passing through two red doors. According to tradition, the doors are painted red to symbolize entering the church under the protection of the blood of Christ. Sounds like it’s more of an Episcopalian tradition, and an image search for “red doors Episcopalian church” seems to bear this out. Ascending the stairs and entering the nave—the area containing the pews and aisle—the visitor can note two gothic revival elements.

1. Take a broad view of the scene and you’ll notice that the aisle is eventually bisected by a horizontal stretch of area between the pews and the sanctuary, forming a cross—not by accident.

2. The hammerbeam roof, composed of several large pieces of timber that take the weight and thrust of the roof and transfer it to the church’s stone walls. The problem is that St. John’s doesn’t have stone walls, and 20 years ago they noticed the walls were pulling away from the sides under the roof’s weight. A photograph from the archives shows the beams were about 2 1/4″ out of plumb. Not good. Tie rods and support bars were installed and painted well enough to blend in with the wood. I sure do like that hammerbeam roof—gives the place a mead hall feel. Christ the Viking.

Most of the stained glass windows at St. John’s were installed during the 60s and 70s and have pretty but bland Renaissance-inspired appearances. With the exception of the 1988 window, which takes full advantage of that era’s love of jagged abstraction. The sanctuary, however, features Irving Park’s oldest, intact stained glass window known as the Advent Window. The Advent Widow is the gift of the Children League of the Holy Child, a group formed before the church existed by a Mrs. Florance (the church’s Tennessee marble baptismal font is dedicated to her). After reading the Apostles Creed together every Saturday, Mrs. Florance and the children would sew squares to be sewn in turn into quilts and sold. From 1888 to 1924, the Advent Window occupied the west wall, while the church entrance was set in the northwest corner. In 1924 they dug a basement, and the church was shifted two feet northwards. The narthex was constructed, and the Advent Window was reset in the sanctuary’s northeast wall.

Directly across from the Advent Window you’ll find the church’s 110-year-old Kimball pipe organ. The W. W. Kimball Company was mostly known for piano manufacturing and sales, but from 1890 to 1942 they also built pipe organs. St. John’s organ was dedicated in 1900 by local organist/fin de siecle rock star Harrison Wild—a gentleman of great talent and tremendous mustache. The organ was once operated by a bellows, operated by wee boys who sat behind the organ and pumped it during the service. Later on a pipe was run into the church and the organ was water-powered before eventually being converted to electric. Wild wasn’t the only individual who tickled the ivories at St. John’s. Herbert E. Hyde, a child prodigy, played it from age 13 to 16. Hyde later went on to play for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church up in Evanston. Hyde spread out into the theater as well, writing music for children’s musicals and plays, including one written by Lord Dunsany, proto-scifi/fantasy writer and figure of great inspiration to H.P. Lovecraft.

The final object of pride is the reredos against the chancel’s rear wall. Installed in 1944, the reredos features four paintings by painter and parishioner Theon Betts. Mr. Betts came from an artistic family, and I mean that in the strictest sense since every one of them, from Daddy on down was a brush-slinger. Theon’s brother Louis was likely the star of the family, though not a household name (he did, however, render an impressive portrait of lumber magnate Martin Ryerson, currently residing at the Art Institute of Chicago). Theon was no slacker, however, and turned out four subdued, dreamy paintings of St. Francis, Mary, St. John, and St. Thomas Aquinas.

The tour passed through the sacristy, which once held a small chapel with a fancy, but now MIA, altar. The fun part came at the tour’s end in the back rooms. Once a much larger room, it was divided by drywall into several classrooms in the 1980s. Unfortunately, this covered up a sweeping ceiling and all traces of the former gymnasium—save for the very loud bell attached to the east wall, which once marked the rounds during the boxing matches they once held up there. OLD-FASHIONED EPISCOPALIAN BOXING MATCHES. Awesome.

I don’t have any especially whacky house walk stories. The crowd was attentive and well-behaved. The only true eccentric was a guy in a trenchcoat with fresh facial scabs, who first asked me if I was “the reverend” and then advised me that our kitchen fire extinguishers weren’t of the correct grade (he recommended K grade extinguishers). My fellow guides, especially Angela, the church historian, were all lovely people. One of them, Olive, was good enough to snap a picture of me. Behold, Mr. Dan Kelly: DOCENT.

Joaquin Phoenhoax

If the 1990s were the age of irony, where everything sat between double quotes, the 2000s and 2010s are promising to be the age of the participatory lie. Bush’s claim of WMDs was the most egregious example. Even in the face of contradictory evidence, even now, long after it’s been proven that Hussein had no WMDs, we’re simply supposed to accept that we were lied to, but what’s done is done. We’re not even allowed to be outraged, being told that it serves no purpose to pursue legal action or demand resignations and apologies because… just because. Go along with it, chumps, until the next lie.

Now we have the semi-revelation that Casey Affleck’s documentary, I’m Still Here, purportedly charting Joaquin Phoenix’s descent into madness and shame, is a hoax. Practically everyone knew that Phoenix was faking it. His behavior was too sudden, too contrived, and too bizarre to be real. When it was learned that Affleck was filming the documentary, it became more obvious. Then the film came out, and while a handful of sensitive creatures bought the film’s premise and sent out pleas for Phoenix’s reclamation, most critics who saw it (I didn’t) found it discouraging, disgusting, and ultimately fake. Now that Affleck has admitted his fake documentary is fake, there’s an inevitable backlash. Sort of. Reaction has been annoyed but subdued, and the NY Times blog has even run a piece with a final swipe at those who dare complain about being duped.

Such behavior is endemic on the Internet. I remember a particularly nasty soul who believed anyone who was ever duped in any way on the Net had only him- or herself to blame. This judgmental attitude is completely appropriate when reprimanding those who e-mail their social security and bank account numbers to strangers, play on railroad tracks, or stand up on roller coasters, but to stigmatize the basic, very human instinct to empatize with others is just wrong. The blame has been shifted from the perpetrator of the lie to those who believed it; the attitude being that the victim should have known better, even when evidence refuting the lie wasn’t immediately present. This supports the passively evil practice of reflexive cynicism. Reflexive cynics aren’t terribly useful as commentators, advisers, or human beings. I’m not making a plea for brain-dead optimism; I’m saying that permanent cynicism is childish and ultimately leads to stasis—you’ll never be hurt if you never act, but you’ll never accomplish much either. I’d add that if you ever choose reflexive cynicism as a personality trait—never screw up, because you will be consumed by your fellow scolds.

So, what does this have to do with the participatory lie? Because during the course of Phoenix’s little drama in real life, there didn’t seem to be a serious effort to investigate if he was putting it on or not. Even David Letterman chose to participate—I’d hesitate to say “knowingly” but I’d likewise hesitate to say “unwittingly”—going for the laughs offered by a genuinely flaky Phoenix rather than coming out and saying, “Come on. What’s the game?” Then, with the film’s release, the tone shifted to, “We knew all along,” setting a new course for the marketing of the film vis a vis a debate over the propriety of Affleck/Phoenix’s gag. We supported the lie, now let’s react strongly over being duped (even though it was all done with our full participation). Furthermore, let’s mock those people (Roger Ebert was one) who thought it might be real. Amazing. If all of this was constructed in a marketer’s office somewhere, it’s cause for being very afraid of how easily the mass of journalists and public intellectuals can be manipulated. Present company included.

I’m Still Here is also another instance of the impractical joke. In terms of hilarity, I’d put it on the tier between giving someone a fake winning lottery ticket and a phone call stating a loved one just died in a car accident—ha ha, just kidding! Descriptions of the film describe a series of events in which Phoenix is arrogant, insane, abusive, and self-destructive, but, as far as I can tell, without a hint of amusement or a tip-off that it’s all a game.* In one apparently unforgettable scene, an abused underling shits on a sleeping Phoenix. The penetrating commentary on the nature of celebrity oozes from every frame I’m sure. If anything, it sounds like Affleck and Phoenix overreached, and their satire became bloated with so much unpleasantness, no one feels much like laughing.

Affleck and Phoenix didn’t especially hurt anyone—though their own careers may be a bit dinged. But the hoax of I’m Still Here is comparable to taking an exceedingly long time to tell a terrible and offensive joke, blowing the punchline, and then standing uncomfortably in front of a group of confused, insulted, and slightly angry individuals who’d like the last 10 minutes of their lives back. Who could blame them?

* Okay, the rapping was a tip-off, but it seems like the absurdity of the rapping becomes submerged by Phoenix’s increasingly erratic behavior. If Affleck and Phoenix were going for a more plausible case of celebrity overreaching, they would have had Phoenix trying to become a rock star ala Keanu Reeves or Russel Crowe. Instead they went for the off-the-rails insanity of a rap career, and it doesn’t sound like they did much more with it than annoy P. Diddy.

“Most plants thrive on animal waste, but I’m afraid this mutation possesses an appetite for the animal itself. ” Day of the Triffids

I don’t think I’ve adequately described the viney nightmare in our backyard. Back in 2006, I raised a 120 pound pumpkin. This  year I have five of what look like 100-pounders or more. Didn’t do much more than plant the seeds, spread a little compost, and walk away. But that’s all that pumpkins really need. I tried to clip a few of the vines and bury the ends in the ground, but more and more kept springing forth, like the proverbial hydra. On Saturday my photographer friend Kathy is stopping by with a real camera to commemorate the madness. I’m looking forward to it.

By the way, this vine managed to vault over a lilac bush and latch onto the bird feeder. What? How? Why? It is known but to God.

For My Next Trick, I Will Fight Crime with This Photograph of a Gun

I certainly won’t say that Molly Norris should have censored herself (especially considering the dweeby innocuousness of her own cartoon), and that she needed to placate the world’s fundamentalist freaks. That just lends ammo those who think honoring other religions’ points of etiquette is the same as mailing plutonium to bin Laden.

No, this is more a case where someone should have intelligently picked her battles and waged a propaganda war more wisely. In America, yes, we have a right to draw pictures of Mohammed… but MUST we? If drawing a picture of the prophet could retroactively prevent the twin towers from falling or lay waste to al Queda from top to bottom, I’d be at the kitchen table, day and night, with my notepad and Sharpies. As it stands, drawing, and putting out a call to draw Islam’s founder, is about as intelligent and effective in the battle against terror as giving the finger to Muslims worldwide.

Here’s the main problem with First Amendment shouters who demand the “right” to draw Mohammed. Say there’s a fellow on your block who’s a real bad seed—nasty, violent, and dangerous as all get out. You want to stop this guy’s reign of obnoxiousness, so what do you do? Right. You find a picture of his beloved grandmother, transfer it to a t-shirt above the words, “FILTHY GODDAMNED WHORE,” put it on, and march over to his house and cockily parade out front. Ha ha! Satire!

After making a few circuits, it becomes apparent that the surrounding homes are occupied by the rest of his family. Real salt of the earth types who’ve disavowed their ne’erdowell relation, but nevertheless love their grammy dearly. Consequently, as they sulkily stand on their porches and watch you march, you suspect they’re not happy with you at all. In your freedom blow-striking you’ve managed to alienate much of the neighborhood.


But hey, you sure got under that guy’s skin. So much so, he’s coming over to your house tonight with a shotgun. He’s absolutely wrong to do so, but as the shotgun’s buckshot and gases expand your skull to twice its normal size, at least you can take heart in knowing you did the right thing. Which was to… Uh… Wait, it will come to me.

And that’s the dividing line between striking a blow for freedom, and simply being a impolite and delusional doofus.

Dream 1

Last night I dreamed that my dad, a lawyer who specializes in real estate, was working on a deal for Steve Albini. The Albini part was odd, but what stuck out for me was that Dad, who’s had a number of medical problems these past few years and isn’t as physically quick as he used to be, was in his prime. He looked the way I remembered him looking when he was in his 50s. He’s not, as he puts it, ready to go just yet, but it was good to see him healthy again.

I didn’t speak with Albini, even though it was strange to see him sitting at my parents’ kitchen table, poring over contracts with Dad. I don’t believe dreams have meanings though, so that’s that.


Back in the 80s, the Boorum and Pease record book was my choice of journals. I think I picked up my first one because my Mom and Dad, being Eisenhower era folks, used them for keeping track of finances, expenses, and so on. They served their purpose, though the paper was only slightly thicker than onion skin, and the page count (144) was paltry. I still like how slim and stackable they are though, and their retro look is classic (standing in a row, those red spines look smarter than a bland, shiny black field of Moleskines). I liked the bumpy feel of the covers as well.

Dreary Fear

I used to cram in a post or two a day, and turn out an article a month. I don’t blame parenthood entirely, because things used to be much looser in other areas of my life. I used to fear being crammed into a box. Now it’s obvious that there’s an organized campaign to stuff me in one by others who prefer living in boxes, thank you.

I thought all this adolescent rebellion and angst would be spent by now. Nope.

Above all, I’ve got to stop making others’ shitty writing read better, and get back to making my own shitty writing read better.