Sophomore effort

Your first novel is fueled by passion for your craft, belief in your talent as a storyteller, a fire that burns in your belly, a head full of imaginary people speaking to you, millions of collapsing waveforms of narrative possibility, and entire days that pass like mere minutes. Not to mention liberal doses of caffeine, adrenaline, sugar, alcohol, and endorphins.

Your second novel is hampered by crippling doubt, self-loathing, a paralyzing fear of failure, a head full of imaginary people screaming at you, hundreds of words of uninspired narrative dross, and minutes that pass like entire days. Not to mention excessive doses of caffeine, alcohol, and empty carbohydrates.

posted 9/15/09 at 2:11pm to Writing · 3 replies · permalink

Things Wot Are On My Shelves: Contact edition

(for Faruk)

James Gunn: The Listeners, Scribners, 1972, 1st edition, 1st printing

Gunn’s novel is a fictional account of first contact, co-dedicated to Carl Sagan and based on his early use of radio telescopes in the search for extraterrestrial life.

A direct antecedent to—and inspiration for—Sagan’s novel, Gunn’s The Listeners is still an amazing work of speculative fiction and is a must-read for anyone who enjoyed Contact and for sci-fi fans in general.

posted 7/10/09 at 4:27pm to Books, Things Wot Are On My Shelves · 0 replies · permalink


It probably wasn’t a good idea, she’d thought, to ride with a stranger all the way to Nevada, but he seemed nice on the phone and lived in one of the better grad housing buildings so he couldn’t be too bad, right?

They met at his car on the top level of the parking garage, his faded blue Civic covered with a fine layer of city soot and whatever other crap fell out of the sky from all those jets flying overhead into JFK.

He threw her pink nylon bag into the trunk and it looked out of place amongst his black suitcases and rusty jumper cables and other bits of boy things, and suddenly it was his turn to question the idea of riding for so many days in a car with a strange girl, a soft creature so frightening to him that he thought he might be sick from her beauty.

Their uneasy smalltalk petered out by the time they reached the tunnel, and she reflexively reached for the radio buttons. He told her with a chuckle that he’d just installed a new CD player, but it had jammed with the very first disc he’d inserted so unless she was willing to be in charge of the FM tuner for the length of the drive, they’d be listening to REM’s Monster for four days straight.

By the time they reached Ohio it was clear they had little in common. Conversation was strained all the way through Illinois, and they didn’t speak for most of the next morning after they’d stayed the night in Des Moines.

They fought about something trivial all the way through Nebraska, which turned out to be an FM graveyard, so they had to listen to the REM disc for the umpteenth time just to fill the post-argument silence.

The chill in the car dissipated in Colorado, and they even managed to have some laughs together in a shitty diner outside of Denver before spending the night in a cheap motel room with two double beds, a broken TV, and a breathtaking view of the mountains.

They were hardly friends when the dirty Civic finally rolled into Las Vegas. He dropped her off outside a nondescript house on an arrow-straight lane of prefabs, and they never saw each other again; he left his car for dead in a lot in Henderson and flew back to New York, while she dropped out of school for good and started her new life.

But for the rest of their lives, every time they heard one of those songs on the radio, they would smile.

“What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” is your Benzedrine, uh-huh 
Butterfly decal, rearview mirror, dogging the scene 
You smile like the cartoon, tooth for a tooth 
You said that irony was the shackles of youth 
You wore a shirt of violent green, uh-huh

posted 6/11/09 at 11:07am to Uncategorized · 0 replies · permalink

Parker’s notes

Parker's journal

Parker Dundee wants to know what his father’s job really was.  He’s going to have to find Mr. Abernathy first.


posted 8/13/08 at 3:14pm to Writing · 0 replies · permalink

Following the trail

On the trail of Abernathy

I want to know who Abernathy is.

posted 7/18/08 at 4:46pm to Writing · 0 replies · permalink