The Kurt Cobain Game

Sui­cide is tricky. For the indi­vid­ual, it promis­es an absolute end to a cer­tain kind of tem­po­ral pain, sure — but then, just as quick­ly, it trans­fers that pain onto oth­ers. And accord­ing to its alge­bra, the mul­ti­pli­ers can be huge.

In the absence of Mr. Cobain there’s a lit­tle game I’ve played, The Kurt Cobain Game. I wrote about it for Hobart today: “Kurt Cobain Doesn’t Know Much Of Any­thing.”

Midsummer Threnody

New poem, “Mid­sum­mer Thren­ody,” in the lat­est Hawk & Whip­poor­will.

This is, more cor­rect­ly, a very old poem — writ­ten a decade ago, sub­mit­ted nine years ago, moments before H&W went on long-term hia­tus.

The hia­tus is over. And so is my old approach to poet­ry. Free verse is tol­er­a­ble, and can even be occa­sion­al­ly good, if you look at it as not poet­ry but prose — lazy prose.

It’s the sol­stice, and I know that gen­res are shift­ing their bear­ing.

Talking out loud to the net

I saw Twit­ter from near­ly the begin­ning — and cyn­i­cal­ly ignored it.* In the begin­ning, I may have had good rea­sons. At the time, I was com­plete­ly offline, amass­ing mil­lions of words in man­u­script.

Even­tu­al­ly I got on @michaelstutz, but retained my ambiva­lence.

Some­thing has recent­ly changed all that — a sure, sub­tle change in the air, that you can feel, that means this is a time for being and cre­at­ing online and shar­ing ideas. And the way Twitter’s evolved in recent years, espe­cial­ly with longer char­ac­ter counts and the addi­tion of threads, it brings new & excit­ing pos­si­bil­i­ties for writ­ing. Orig­i­nal Twit­ter, or “Old Twit­ter,” is almost entire­ly a long bor­ing stream of ‘sta­tus updates.’ Not any­more. There’s no doubt that the whole thing’s sud­den­ly com­pelling.

And now it took me no time at all to get blocked by my favorite sto­ry-thread­ing Inter­net kook — who crossed the line of dece­ny by doxxing inno­cents as part of one of his rants.

* Well, not entire­ly true. I’ve run a sta­ble of char­ac­ters, as an exper­i­ment in online fic­tion, since the begin­ning.

Treasure Island Redux

Trea­sure Island, Flori­da and its envi­rons is one of the best hotbeds of mid-cen­tu­ry mod­ern archi­tec­ture in America—right on the Gulf of Mex­i­co, about a mile from Jack Kerouac’s last home, was an exam­ple of every major archi­tec­tur­al style and trend from America’s high point.

In an effort to bring aware­ness to what they had, years ago I got Trea­sure Island on the front page of The New York Times. They didn’t get it then, even as the nation­al spot­light was thrown upon them.

I’ve been mak­ing some trips down there to doc­u­ment what’s left, and I’ve become hap­pi­ly sur­prised by some­thing else: there’s new inter­est and hope in his­toric preser­va­tion. Now that mid-cen­tu­ry mod­ern is so hot, this might be a very good year for the city.

Tropic Terrace

The Sands

Silenced.

Con­trol the medi­um and you con­trol what’s pos­si­ble on it. Lan­guage is the medi­um of thought. So the way to cur­tail thought is to take away the tools that make it pos­si­ble — ban words and phras­es, change their mean­ings, out­law cer­tain expres­sions … and sud­den­ly whole ideas are for­bid­den, if not impos­si­ble.

Today the so-called “lit­er­ary” press is among the worst of the polit­i­cal­ly-cor­rect con­trollers. That’s why con­tem­po­rary lit­er­a­ture is so weak and use­less — it has no cul­tur­al cachet, the nov­el and poet­ry have almost no pres­ence or pow­er in pub­lic life. “Lit­er­ary” is a syn­onym for weak-mind­ed, aca­d­e­m­ic PC junk that isn’t worth your time.

I won’t sup­port them, and in return they won’t sup­port me, either — Cir­cuits of the Wind isn’t sim­plis­tic enough for them, they hate a lot of words and ideas in the book, and they sure don’t like white males — dead or alive.

So I was hon­ored to be a part of Loren Feldman’s doc­u­men­tary film Silenced: Our War on Free Speech, pro­duced by Mike Cer­novich. It’s exact­ly about that. And a lot of us aren’t shut­ting up about it any­more.

Watch Silenced on Vimeo.

Silenced: Our War on Free Speech