30 March 2007

Beautiful Day in South Bend

1. Shiga sensei said hi to me today as i was microwaving my leftover pasta from legends. before i knew what i was doing, my lips started stammering out an apology: i missed the bus, the taxi took 30 minutes, so i gave up--all true--and she was like, oh, whatever, it's fine, i don't care, i just wanted to tell you thank you, i got a response from the people at the hotel in brittany that you wrote to in french for me, and they replied back the next day. she was so excited, she almost hugged me, but instead, we did something really bizarre and wonderful, we high-fived, right there, on the second floor of decio, my japanese sensei and me, high-fiving like team mates in a dodgeball game. crazy.

2. Coleen hugged me today, almost made me cry, she already found out about me trying to get her a raise, she had to look at the inbox to get rid of the spam, and who had written me two irritating emails waiting for me there but christina yu. so cyu managed to ruin yet another thing in my life. but not really. coleen said it was the nicest thing anyone's ever done for her, she was so sweet, she almost made me cry, but i love and admire her so much and she deserves a raise, we all know that, she's the covert director of the program in many ways. it was touching to see her so moved like that. but what would be really rad, is if she actually gets this raise inshallah.

3. Yesterday, i played piano for an hour, and i swear, everything i was playing was fantastic. it's not usually like that. usually, when i play improvisationally, i don't like most of it, or i rely exclusively on old songs i'd written many years ago to balance out all of the formula pieces i just reified out of thin air, but for some reason, my improv songs were making me so happy. . . now, if only i can remember them again next time. that would be even better.

4. Instead of taking the bus, i decided to walk instead. it was such a perfect and bright day, a nice 3 mile walk from campus to my apartment. the sun was kissing my pores, the music in my shuffle was practically made for walking on the sidewalk, and even when ugly-looking white trash guys in dilapidated pick-up trucks yelled shit at me near memorial hospital, i coulda cared less what they thought of me, in fact, i couldn't even hear what they were saying anyway, didn't even look in their direciton, dean wareham, nappy roots, blackalicious, sia, they were my companions, guiding me through three miles of song. it was such a warm and beautiful day today, the high 60's low 70's slowly dissolving the dormant sadness i've been storing in my lungs.

5. Today felt like redemption. the sun felt like words i've wanted to hear all winter long from someone i've missed terribly.

27 March 2007

Stuck in the Rain

I walked to the post office today to send my ninth letter submission to juan, the non fiction editor who's slowly becoming a friend of mine since we met at awp. i revised my lyrical essay and now i hope he likes it enough to take a bite.

As i was about to walk back, it started raining and i kinda loved it. i mean, i just stood there under the awning of the post office, waiting for the rain to stop, held captive by that perfect moment, forced, willingly, to stand there and just count the streaks in the sky. it was like waking up in the desert, forced to count the shades of blue until the sun eats away at the constellations: the mistake was more beautiful than the intention, that's what was so great about it.

26 March 2007

Thoughts on the Changing (Soviet) World

1. This weather is like a face-lift for my morale.

2. Well, it looks like i'm gonna have my own zine review column on newpages, which is like the coolest thing ever. and i'm even gonna get paid, well, not much, but still, this will the first time i'm actually gonna get paid to write, so that's exciting. also, i've wanted to learn more about zine culture for awhile now, and this is the perfect excuse. also: free copies! love that shit man. it's amazing how all of this comes back to atlanta, to awp, to talking to people, to local connections. yet another reason to move to chicago.

3. I saw pablo again, in a really strange place. i already told silpa my theory that pablo is like the superfluous man in 19th century russian novels. he's both ubiquitous and simultaneously one-dimensional. in this case, i saw pablo--of all fucking places--IN THE GYM, IN SHORTS, and what was really strange, HE WAS RUNNING AROUND THE TRACK. and honestly, it looked like his body wasn't totally down with that kind of exercise. he didn't look comfortable running at all. i'd like to think he ran faster whenever he passed me though on the steps, where i was cooling down, you know, cuz of machismo and all. but i'm sure i was imagining that.

4. O'shag looks like a soviet youth recruitment center with all of those mao is coming posters i made for the lula readings. in case you're not stuck in sobe, this would look like:



Anyway, between the copies we made for lula's, and the EXTRA ones christina yu made cuz she's deeply paranoid that no one is going to come to her reading, the hallways are starting to freak me out. and i helped create this madness! shame on me.

5. Well, my rejection list is almost complete. no's from:

the george bennett fiction fellowship
yaddo corporation
and recently, the colgate creative writing fellowship.

this leaves:

the sparks prize
the JET program
emory university fiction fellowship

at this point, any of those would do. but if not, i'll figure something else out. i'm still kinda keen on chicago or osaka though, personally. on verra. . .

6. I know i've said this before, but i really love my lip ring. it makes me happy. i saw a girl staring at it as i was walking to the bus stop today, and then i realized it wasn't cuz she was scoping me out, but cuz she had one too and she was kinda bummed she wasn't the only one. yeah, see these lips, that's how it's SUPPOSED to look.

7. You know, despite recent setbacks and disappointments, i feel so good about my life and i really feel like it's going to work out. yes, the eternal optimist and his paradigm. but it's more than that. i simply know. and i've seen it work out over and over and i'm a believer.

8. I think erika and i going on a date soon and i'm really stoked about that.

25 March 2007

Sun = Resurrection

Today was fucking gorgeous man. 74 degrees, sunny, delicious. i HAD to walk on the water to the farmer's market, listen to my shuffle, and just bask in this gift of light. eventually i walked to chicory cafe, talked to my mum who read my her entire pro/con list for changing jobs and then i walked home, talked to my neighbor and made a yum chipotle salmon wrap with guacamole and organic spinach. oishikatayo! it was so good. and now, laundry done, japanese homework half finished, kanji studied, i'm ready to sleep.

This sun does amazing things for my psyche, namely, resurrect it. i'm so happy to see blue sky again.

24 March 2007

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

Recently, i've been feeling the need to travel really bad. that part of me wants to go to japan, and then maybe volunteer for the vso, possibly teach english in rwanda, cambodia or ethiopia for two years. that kind of itinerant life appeals to me, it would satisfy my wanderlust and appease my fascination with global culture, simultaneously giving me deep, self-changing life experience and material to write about for the rest of my life. not to mention i was MADE for falling in love abroad, it was practically wired into my DNA. the other equally persuasive, charismatic and beautiful spell in my life is this: to stay in the states and continue writing my ass off. i mean, i still have a way to go, but i'm going to have written an entire novel in less than two years. i'm already on page 330, and it's coming together like pretty lacework. i know if i stay here for another 2-3 years, finish my book and revise it, use it as a calling card to high-powered agents, publish individual self-containing chapters in catchy little lit journals, my life is going to change and my career is going to be seeded in some way.

The question is, where does the universe want me? i know i'll write regardless of where i love, i mean, live, nice freudian slip, but i know i will have less energy to write if i'm working 40 hours a week. i learned that working in new york city last summer. yes i still wrote by waking up at 5 in the morning and writing until 7, then going off to work, writing during lunch, and then coming home and crashing. but my relationship with simmi suffered. i was often just too tired to see her and my neighborhood, too sketch to make it possible for her to come and visit me by herself. and i'm just not willing to let work steamroll my romantic impulses like that again.

Et puis, y'a l'affaire pérou.

Ça va sans dire qu'une part importante de ma raison d'être (au moins sur le plan d'existence, de carrière, métier créatif) consiste à obéir mes sentiments, même si elles m'exigent de m'en passer ces choses qui me sont bonnes. pour ma part, je suis tout à fait disposé à me sacrifier quelquechose de materiel pour l'amour. mais, pour mon bien, ça me fait peur un peu, parce qu'il s'ensuit que quiconque qui soit disposé à se sacrifier quelquechose, il puisse se sacrifier des choses qui pourraient en fait être indispensables pour son propre bonheur, et j'avoue avoir cette tendance de disparaître de la circulation lorsque je tombe amoureux de queqlue meuf super. oui, c'est ma plus grand faiblesse, l'amour.

J'ai décidé que si je remporte le priz sparks et je le gagne haut la main la croquette somme de veingt milles dollares, c'est un signe que je dois rester là dans le miouest pendant deux-trois ans de plus. en outre, p'tête ça veut dire que y'a qqc entre nous, érika et moi, une passion, un amour, un désir--qui sait--naissant, cru, grandissant. y'a une seule manière de savoir . . . j'ai commencé à avoir le petit béguin pour elle, elle me fascine, je pense tous le temps à elle, son sourire me calme, ses yeux me sont comme des gouttes d'eau tranquilles, des fois, j'ai envie à les boire à petite gorgées comme un verre de jus de mangue. on pourrait avoir qqc. . .

En même temps, vivre au japon serait un moment de répit de la culture maniaque americaine. si c'est là où je me suis retrouvé, je le prend au serieux comme signe aussi.

En définitive, j'ai fais de mon mieux et maintenant, tout ça dépend de l'univers et c'est lui qui va décider mon destin.

21 March 2007

There's Something Really Wrong with My Neighbors

i thinks there's something really disturbring about one of my neighbors. i'm trying not to judge how white trash they appear from the outside: the abandoned lazy boy in the lawn, the aquarium on the curb, the blankets used as curtains--none of that helps. but what really disturbs me is, they have cujo as a pet. i mean, as i walking to noma to join the beautiful ladies (the coolest and hottest beatches in sobe i tell ya), there was a dead squirel on the sidewalk. . . and then, on the other side of the same house, i walked past a dead skunk, flattened and dead, its little white stripe, dirtied by tire tracks. but i feel like that's GOT to be a bad omen for that home, when there's a small collection of dead animals surrounding your house. you've either read too many stephen king novels, you're training your mutt to be a killer, or animals are spontanesouly croking in front of your windows--and none of that bodes well for you. you've obviously angered the gods, so maybe now is the time to lay some flowers on your altar.

20 March 2007

A Few of My Fave Moments at Noma

1. --prairie schooner, fucker, susan said.

2. --i'm sorrry. I totally forgot about you, the waiter said, do you know what you'd like?
i've always wanted to say this, i confide to v, yeah, i'll take a geisha please.

3. --well, maybe it could work if i met someone on craig's list where everything's anonymous, and we just went to a club in an entirely different city, v said, in reference to going to a sex club.

4. --i'm sorry we didn't talk kpg. i'm a bad friend, i said, right before i stepped on her foot.
--ow, that hurts, she said.
--sorry, i said, you can hurt me back if you want to.
--do you want me to hurt you?" she asked.
--well, not now, i said, 2 feet from k's car, there's like an audience.

5. --i'm gonna crump yo'ass mr. jackson, little shoes said with a snarl. okay, she didn't actually say those words, but i'm kinda charmed when i IMAGINE her saying that. in my mind, she stands up afterwards, and starts CRUMPING IT LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW and all we can do is open our mouths and exhale in unison, like we're tasting mint for the first time.

17 March 2007

15 Things I Didn't Need to Enumerate but Did

1. kpg and d split up--well, for now anyway--and i'm still in shock and disbelief about it.

2. hassan, one of my fave novel characters, is about to be killed. yes, it's capital punishment time at the bliss house. sad times.

3. i think about erika alot, and i've only gone on one date with her and i'm trying to understand what that means, especially in light of the fact that em and i are so magical together, and kelly and i hit it off so well. i have my theories about this, but i'll think about them more first before i syndicate them to the world.

4. ND lost to fucking WINTHROP in the first round of the NCAA tournament. ah, like i really care.

5. i haven't gotten a single new story published in 2007 and i'm starting to freak out a little bit. i mean, 2006 was pretty good for me: blazevox, syntax, right hand pointing, the pittsburgh review, 3:am magazine, soma literary review, the taj majal review--i think, writer advice, ink collective. . . but so far, for 2007: nothing, zilp, zilch, nada, rien, nanimo! man, i hope that changes soon. I'd like to add to my meagre publishing history. i mean, as far as i'm concerned, i haven't done shit yet.

6. in two months, i'm pretty much on my own again, and i'm headed either to chicago, atlanta, new york, japan, or possibily to a free-love cult where you do nothing but smoke pot and sleep with hippy twins all day.

7. after seeing kelly's 2 new tattoos, i'm fucking envious. i want another tattoo.

8. i haven't had sex since october. . . at the end of march--if i have to wait that long--it will be 5 months. god, how depressing.

9. related to #8, i'm absolutely, positively, dreadfully sick of porn.

10. part of me wants to move to morocco and work at an orphanage. not joking.

but, i do have faith that ONE or more of the following things will work out:

1. dave eggers will pick up one of my stories, or at least write me one nice sentence i can hang on the wall, right above my bed. hey, look at that, i'll say to my next lover, dave eggers wrote that, i'll say, it says "sorry," she says, i know that, i say, but dave eggers wrote that, i'll explain

2. blood lotus, contrary magazine, tarpaulin sky, wordiot, diagram, narrative, quickfiction, pindeldyboz, the new yorker, miranda literary review, void and lost magazine, hayden's ferry review, greensboro review, indiana review, nimrod, another chicago magazine, puerto del sol, smokelong quarterly, verbsap or the furnace review could pick up one or more of my stories, which would make me feel alot better about the world at large

3. 9th letter might pick up my memoir, if jms likes my story, and that would be awesome

4. 1/4 after 8 could pick up "blank sheet of paper." i mean, it could happen

5. april might be the month that i find out i won the playboy, atlantic or vanity fair contests. . . well, i'm just saying, you never know

6. one of many of my other fave lit journals could surpirse me and pick up a story i just assumed they'd lost, or used as surrogate plates for their annual spring barbecue

7. michael martone could surprise me and say, jackson, this story is so good, i think i've found a home for it. hey, it could happen

8. i could either win the sparks prize, get the colgate writer-in-residence fellowship, get the emory fiction fellowship, or move to japan, maybe osaka, and that would be something to write in my blog.

9. i might get a new tattoo

10. i could get a yaddo fellowship

11. lynn nesbit could finally put me out of my misery and take me on as her agent.

12. i could be getting laid a month from now, or be madly in love.

13. kpg could be getting laid a month from now, or be madly in love, this time, with a gorgeous woman.

14. kpg and i could be roomates, possibly, if we both moved to chicago. i mean, it could happen

15. the weather will get warmer

yes, it occurs to me that maybe only #9, #13and #15 will happen, but i still have faith in the other numbers, in my life, and in this universe. even so: come on other numbers! you can do it! every number gets a fair chance in my book, you hear me? i want EVERY number to be a winner!

I Lost an Hour Today,

Somehow,

I forgot that saturday night was daylight savings, even though kelly told me it was, even though she kept getting mind-warped by the idea that she was going to drive BACK to michigan city--which is in indiana, for all of you not familiar with strange world mechanics of midwest culture--and she was going to lose an hour, even though michigan city is in the same STATE as south bend, unless she drove back past three (which she did, actually, it was close to 4), in which case, with daylight savings time, she'd basically leave south bend at the same time that she'd arrived in michigan city since the drive is almost exactly an hour, how fucking weird is that? but somehow, even though i was laughing at her when she tried to get her mind wrapped around that idea, somehow, i STILL forgot it was daylight savings time YESTERDAY. well, today too. i thought it was 5, and even thought, man, i'm glad it's not 6 yet cuz i'm not even hungry, but then, i checked my cell phone, and realized it WAS 6, and i still wasn't hungry.

So the point is, i lost an hour today, and i've been working really hard to try and get it back, but it's just not working.

I had a great time with kelly on saturday. we spent something like 17 hours together, talking and talking, walking around notre dame and sunny south bend, eating crappy italian food at polito's, hanging out in the music building on campus where i played some songs for her, before we drove to the thai trailer and realized it was CLOSED YET AGAIN, and eventually we tried a little japanese place on Mckinley road, before making it back to my house, where we eventually laid down on the floor, and cracked jokes about weird things like dildo knives and spongy love torsos and microwaved oranges--don't ask--as our minds slowly degenerated until we were both almost asleep, delirious, babbling incoherent and lewd and funny things, all of which made sense at 4, but actually 5, in the morning. and then, we kissed a little, but mostly, it was a tease, a soft insinuation of unexpressed desire, left to the imagination, to the future, and possibly, to nothing.

My mom keeps calling me tonight and asking me for advice with her msn.singles.com account.
--what username should i use honey? she asked.
--i dunno, i said, i have no idea.
--how about michigan lover?
--god no, that's so cheesy mum. and you don't LIVE in michigan.
--well, i can't do "positive possibilities," that's too long.
--ok.
--what about gloryincali.
--sounds religious.
--YOU gave me that name, and spelled it with a y.
--that was just an email account.
--how about if i spelled it with an "i" instead.
--that could work.
--the other thing i was thinking of was "new to this."
--there's got to be a MILLION people with that tag.
--well, it's true.
--all right, try it then, see if it works.

I'm stoked cuz tomorrow i'm going to chicago for a few days to kick it with my bro. and maybe i'll see some of my peeps too, or even better, erika, while i'm there inshallah. on verra. wick's gonna flip when he see my lip ring. somehow, i've managed to hold on to this secret--which is so hard for me to do--and he has no idea i've got a hole in my lip, looped with stainless steel, pretty that, so pretty lips can be, when they're swollen.

08 March 2007

2 Weeks of Busy

My god, i've been mad busy the past 2 weeks, but, just to give some of you an idea of how breath-taking, ridiculous and amazing these past 2 weeks have been, let me just break it down for all of you.

In the past two weeks i have:

1. Taken 6 quizzes in japanese
2. Taken 2 written examinations in japanese
3. Taken 1 oral midterm in japanese
4. Worked on, edited, and revised my mfa thesis before turning it into the office for graduation
5. Worked on, edited, and revised my sparks prize submission, which i will turn into the office tomorrow
6. Bought a new suit from banana republic
7. Bought new shoes from kenneth cole
8. Gone on a date with erika from chicago
9. Taken my annual hiv test at the st. joseph's health center--it's all good
10. Had my jet interview at the Japanese consulate in chicago
11. Spent 3 days in atlanta for the awp convention where i also:
12. Became friends with the editors at one story, one of my fave lit journals
13. Became friends with the non-fiction editor at 9th letter
14. Became friends with the crew at newpages.com where i might become their online journal critic
15. Hung out with tony d'souza who i love and admire for his chicago connections, his impressive Work ethic, even if he IS a complete and absolute hustler
16. Talked to the editors of at least 10 different journals that i have pending submissions at
17. Became friends with some of the mfa students at alabama
18. Went and heard robert olen butler read
19. Met Utahna Faith in a flash fiction panel discussion, the editor that published my story, "City Lunch" in 3am: magazine
20. Listened to lily and the other chiasmus press writers (including lance olsen) give an awesome joint reading
21. Went to michael martone and john barth's reading in the crystal ballroom of the hilton hotel--mm stole the show, in my opinion before buying 2 of mm's novels and chatting with him at the book Signing. he even sent me 2-3 emails in the past week. i feel very privileged, to say the least.
22. Talked to one of the poetry editors at tin house--jc was his name i think
23. Played air hockey and won against pei-lin, the editor at one story
24. Met atina, one of the fiction editors at red hen press, one of the better indie presses, this one, out of LA
25. Met fred ramney, one of the publisher's at unbridled press, who gave me his card after i told him about my novel and the interest that publishing luminaries like lynn nesbit has shown the manuscript so far. --and we take agented and unagented fiction, he explained.
26. Picked up something like 25 free lit journals from the awp bookfair
27. Smoked 3 cigarettes and drank lots of heineken--all of which tasted fantastic