December 27, 2012

I want to start again (possible opening for a new book.)


I want to start again. I want to write a book that has nothing to do with any of the books I’ve written before. This is the kind of book you write when you think you might soon be dead.

A book to make enemies, to take revenge on people who most likely don’t deserve it. Should I keep the names the same or change them? I will change the names. The world is small enough. Those who care about such things will figure it out. Gossip is a false mystery that must be solved.

A few seconds ago I felt confident I would openly slander people and now, still on the first page, I am no longer sure it is a good idea, this oscillation being so familiar it hurts.

I’m still on the first page and, already, I know I basically won’t slander anyone. And yet, still, I want to start again. I always want to start again.

For me, over the course of a lifetime, five books feels like the right number for a single author to write. I have now written five: Unrehearsed Beauty, Families Are Formed Through Copulation, Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed, Polyamorous Love Song and Rich and Poor. (I have also written three others, a very long time ago, under another name, which I don’t count or think about.) I have written five books and therefore am done.

Yet writing these books has been a kind of therapy. Having something to work on each day, to struggle with, give focus, take my mind from my more terrifying, regular, existential mental habits.

I don’t think of my books as being for the benefit of my mental health. I think of them, mainly, as being for readers. To read, be provoked by, possibly enjoy. Five books feels like enough. It feels unnecessary to continue, and yet, obviously, I can’t quite stop.

There are people I want to slander, who I did not mention in any of my previous, more polite, more fictional, less neurotic, books. This is not a good reason to write book number six.

I have decided all those I intend to slander I will refer to as X. There are at least five or six different individuals, possibly as many as twenty, here all referred to as X. In this way it is a bit like I am slandering the entire world.

Of course, the real person I hope to slander is myself.


December 25, 2012



At the coffee place
on Christmas day
on one of three televisions
a movie I had seen most of
once before on a plane
Jim Carey as a rich jerk
who's humanized by a gaggle
of CGI penguins
a movie for children
with a simple lesson
the rich are not destroying the artic
not destroying the penguins
but rather saving them
and being humanized in the process
brought closer to their families
a shitty, stupid movie
pure propaganda
and both times I saw it
I cried


December 20, 2012

From an article in Der Spiegel about US drone pilot Brandon Bryant


Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards. When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world…


[H]e remembers one incident very clearly when a Predator drone was circling in a figure-eight pattern in the sky above Afghanistan, more than 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles) away. There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs, as Bryant recalls. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact…

With seven seconds left to go, there was no one to be seen on the ground. Bryant could still have diverted the missile at that point. Then it was down to three seconds. Bryant felt as if he had to count each individual pixel on the monitor. Suddenly a child walked around the corner, he says.

Second zero was the moment in which Bryant’s digital world collided with the real one in a village between Baghlan and Mazar-e-Sharif.

Bryant saw a flash on the screen: the explosion. Parts of the building collapsed. The child had disappeared. Bryant had a sick feeling in his stomach.

“Did we just kill a kid?” he asked the man sitting next to him.

“Yeah, I guess that was a kid,” the pilot replied.

“Was that a kid?” they wrote into a chat window on the monitor.

Then, someone they didn’t know answered, someone sitting in a military command center somewhere in the world who had observed their attack. “No. That was a dog,” the person wrote.

They reviewed the scene on video. A dog on two legs?

- From an article in Der Spiegel about US drone pilot Brandon Bryant as cited by Glen Greenwald in The Guardian


December 18, 2012

Some favourite things from 2012


[The last, and perhaps only, time I made one of these lists was back in 2010. Not sure why I'm doing it again now, but it seems to have happened. The list is in no particular order and most of these things didn't actually appear in 2012. But they were all new to me.]

The Transformation*** – Juliana Spahr
Debt: The First 5000 Years – David Graeber
Laconia: 1,200 Tweets on Film – Masha Tupitsyn
The King of a Rainy Country – Brigid Brophy
Human Wishes / Enemy Combatant – Edmond Caldwell
In the Time of the Blue Ball – Manuela Draeger
Event Factory – Renee Gladman
The Event – Juan José Saer
The Ship – Hans Henny Jahn
Mercury - Ariana Reines 
Summer of Hate – Chris Kraus
Selected Works – José Antonio Ramos Sucre
Blast Counterblast – Edited by Anthony Elms and Steve Reinke
Progress of Stories – Laura Riding

Las Malas Amistades – Maleza
THEESatisfaction – awE naturalE
Fatima Al Qadiri – Genre-Specific Xperience
Brand New Wayo: Funk, Fast Times & Nigerian Boogie Badness 1979-1983
Personal Space: Electronic Soul 1974-1984
Frank Ocean – Code Orange
Solid Space – Space Museum
Gigi – Maitnent
Angel Haze - Reservation
Roberto Cacciapaglia – The Ann Steel Album
Hospitality – s/t
BLU – No York

A YouTube playlist for 2013
Not to be confused with the YouTube playlist for 2012
A YouTube playlist of Japanese music I made in Japan
Some (all time) favourite books
A list of visual artists
I listened to a great deal of music that I discovered at Bodega Pop
And I recorded all my songs for Every Song I’ve Ever Written

*** The Transformation was most likely the best book I read this year.


December 17, 2012

Big Brother where art thou? vanishes and then returns


Big Brother where art thou? - a project entirely on Facebook that I made last year in collaboration with Lene Berg - had mysteriously disappeared for awhile but has now returned in it's entirety. To view the project you now have click on "Highlights" and scroll down to "Posts by Others." You can find it here.


December 7, 2012

Stories I started but couldn't finish.


I want to start again. I want to write a book that has nothing to do with any of the books I’ve written before. This is the kind of book you write when you think you might be dead soon. A book to make enemies, to take revenge on people who most likely don’t deserve it…

I don’t remember exactly when I started calling it The Pinocchio Syndrome, this: I want to be a real boy / I want to be a real novel thing. I don’t want to write strange, experimental, impossible to categorize, novel-like-things anymore. I don’t want to be marginalized like that. I want to write a real novel with real characters and a real story that will be taken seriously by the literary world. I think every writer of difficult-to-categorize fiction struggles to some extent with The Pinocchio Syndrome (along with the exceptions to every rule.)

I am fascinated by the novel Mount Analogue by René Daumal and, more specifically, but its ending. As is well known, Daumal died in 1948, in the middle of writing Mount Analogue, and the books ends mid-sentence. The last line is:


I have often wondered if it would be possible to end something I wrote mid-sentence, not because I had died, but for some other reason.

I have been thinking so much about solar energy, about how much of what I read, especially from a mainstream perspective, seems misplaced. When I read that we will not be able to generate enough energy using solar and wind, I feel they are completely missing the point. The points are:

1) That these new, sustainable technologies will force us to use less, will demonstrate – on a real, lived, experiential basis – that resources are renewable but not infinite.

2) That there is more autonomy, and less greedy profit, in a decentralized power grid.

3) That the many exorbitant expenses of polluting the air and water are simply not being factored into the standard calculations. Environmental devastation is expensive on every level.

But it is mainly the first point I obsess over. Let’s say you have solar panels on the roof of your house. Each day, you will use only as much energy as these panels generate. When it runs out you go to sleep and wait for the sun to come up tomorrow. The energy is not infinite, not available twenty-four hours a day. There are limits and you learn, out of necessity, how to live within them.

This, for me, is the main lesson of sustainable technologies. They would force us to live differently, to be aware of daily limits, to find solutions that acknowledge real limitations. They do not make life easier in every way. They make life harder in some ways, ways that force a fundamental shift in how we see the world and our place within it. I also suspect that working within a series of concrete, reasonable limitations would bring along with it a kind of reality and even joy.


December 3, 2012



During the winter, I always wish I lived in Lisbon.


December 1, 2012

KopfkinoTrailer#1 by Lene Berg

The title of the Norwegian film artist Lene Berg’s new film Kopfkino (2012) literally means head film, or film in the brain. Kopfkino was filmed over the course of two days in Berlin with a set of exceptional characters. The basic concept is simple: eight women exchange stories about their line of work, which is to fulfill their clients’ sexual fantasies. Seated behind a long table, as in Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper (c.1498), they are dressed as the various female clichés that they impersonate: a schoolgirl, a circus director, a general or a princess. The scripted conversation evolves in front of the camera without any direct intervention by the director. The women use their own words and experiences but the situation in which we observe them is staged. We are on a film set. Real experiences and actual stories come together in a universe of illusions, fictions and fantasies.