Tag Archives: whatever

Coleslaw and Gin and Big Other and HTML Giant and Coleslaw.

These young ladies are coleslaw wrestling at a biker rally, I shit you not. I use the image in my Big Other contest, called Will You Please Help a Lazy Poet or something.

Idea is you help me write a poem. I will then flow the poem off for publication. It will be a group poem but I will try to keep all the credit and the group will anger and sue me for royalties on VH1 or something, maybe we wreck our fast car into the forehead of our aging later on in Daytona? Maybe we paunch. Maybe we select headgear to cricket our youth into a roll of Maybes.

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I got something in Best of Metazen, and a process note. I included Ambien reference in the process note as a nod to TW. TW having a rough (fun with puns!) time and I know he enjoys online literary magazines, so maybe he will glow this and feel less existentially alone.

TW just needs an intellectual whore, really.

I love Jason Whitlock, BTW. He has been fired so many times for being honest. His take on TW.

That’s enough TW, but I am not immune to tawdry.

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I was at a university breakfast with our president and we were talking about flash fiction and I said in passing “Less words equals more meaning” and she said, “You mean fewer words.”

You get it?

The president of my university corrected my English. I am an English professor at the university.

That was embarrassing, folks.

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I went two days without nachos and I feel sad.

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It is time for 2009 “top” book lists. They are all over the internet.

Zak Smith has this and Justin Taylor this at HTML GIANT.

BIG OTHER with Alec Niedenthal’s choices and also some music choices by Christopher Higgs.

I read BIG OTHER and HTML GIANT pretty much daily and have noticed this:

1.) I buy many more books now. So many vervey words! This is a good thing, but getting costly. Then again, would I rather spend my money on books or beer? Wait…

2.) I blog less. It just seems these two sites have all the fascinating stuff you need in a part of this Indie writing scene thing. I go there and read it all, the content and crisp onion shards and so on, and to blog along similar lines seems redundant or dumb or something. Plus, who cares if I blog less or more? Really. So, I don’t mind this development and it makes me take my blog to somewhere new, I’m sure. We’ll see.

3.) There is no number three.

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All of my writer friends LOVE music. I don’t. The last time I thought about music was two weeks ago I emailed Ander Monson and asked if he would send me Mountain Goats. A week later five MG CD’s arrived in the mail. I play them over and over and I’m fine. I mean I’ll be OK for a year, easy, just driving to work and back and playing those CDs over and over. I have no idea the titles of the songs. Fine with me.

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Speaking of PANK, here is a bio of Roxanne Gay I found on Big Other. Other editor bios here.

Roxane Gay moved to Tree Hill and became a student at Tree Hill High the beginning of her senior year, and initially appeared to be a promiscuous and manipulative rich girl. She joined the cheerleading squad and became a fast rival to Brooke Davis. Their rivalry culminated in a violent physical altercation. Roxane’s sensitive side surfaced when she admitted she suffered from low self esteem and resorted to plastic surgery to attain her ideal body. Lying about her age, she entered a relationship with the significantly older Cooper Lee. Cooper ended the relationship when he discovered Roxane’s deceit. Later, while alone in a limo after a mutual acquaintance’s wedding, Roxane told Cooper she was pregnant – another lie – before drunkenly driving the limo off a bridge. Roxane and Cooper survived the accident, but Cooper once again abandoned Roxane after learning she’d faked her pregnancy. After graduating high school, Roxane’s addiction to drugs destroyed her burgeoning modeling career. While working as a stripper, Roxane met and later married ex-convict and convicted murderer Dan Scott. She convinced Scott to publish his memoir and launch a television talk show about his personal quest for redemption. Both projects proved incredibly successful, and the couple accumulated significant wealth.

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I am just finishing this book by E. Ethelbert Miller.

It is about a fear of getting old and irrelevant, and then, you know dying. So far, Ethelbert:

* Is paranoid about people misspelling his name.

* Says black people cannot Xerox well.

* Keeps comparing baseball to life. This works OK, but I wish we could see the author show us his passion/interest in baseball more clearly. I’d like to see the core of his metaphor–it would provide the entire structure of the book a more solid underpinning.

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The new Breadcrumb Scabs is out and I’m in there. You can download pdf for free or buy a print copy. Of all lit mags, the words Breadcrumb Scabs might be the most visceral. Just saying the title makes me shudder.

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Yesterday a magazine took a poem of mine and gave me $40. What? Money for poetry? It must be Christmas…Oh, I feel stupid today. Probably because I am stupid.

S

Blake Butler Sells Out!

I kid, I kid…I just posted that title to enrage you readers.

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Actually, I know Blake (slightly–a few beers in Chicago bars, a smattering of emails, mutual worship of the Tabata Protocol, etc.) and, more importantly, know his writing well (I’ve read maybe 90% of all he’s published, working on the other 10%), and am happy as could be for the man, and his words. His signing with Harper Perennial reminds of me of a few years ago, when I was first getting into Blake’s work and blog. I got this email from someone (I won’t say who here) and they wrote, “Sean, do you know about this Blake Butler guy? He keeps publishing all over and it seems like a lot of the places are his friends and then Blake publishes them and what do you think about this whole process…”

I don’t know if this emailer was a writer/blogger stalker type individual or what, but the email implied the fucking sky was falling with everyone publishing each other. (Blake, ever aware and self deprecatory, even had a funny “circle jerk” post about this tendency among writer/bloggers).

You know what I answered to the email? It was pretty simple. I wrote back and said, “Dear________, do you READ Blake Butler? He’s a damn good writer, so who gives a fuck where he is publishing?”

So that’s how I feel about Blake’s news (and Shane Jones earlier): good words are now going to be cast even further into the world. But I do think this news and the process are worth discussing. A few points from me:

1.) Can we now officially quit asking the “Would Ulysses get published today” question?

drunk joyce

This question implies that mainstream houses are all owned by profit-mongering conglomerates. Therefore, any difficult, thoughtful, complex work can never get distribution because publishing is too obsessed with $$$, with cookbooks  and self-help and vampire love stories and other vacuous, stupid shit. I find this idea to be often true, but also often false.

[Oddly, as far as timing, Harvey Pekar was speaking about this very issue last night, here at BSU (where I teach). Years ago, Pekar is an underground artists facing a mainstream comic book world. Who would publish his adult comic work? Uh, nobody, right? Wrong. Now he is mainstream. He did much of what I am about to say about Joyce’s novel, though Pekar also self-published.]

Listen: Ulysses would be published, eventually by a conventional house. How?

First thing would be a repeat of history. Just like in 1918, excerpts of Joyce’s work would appear in literary magazines (though most likely online today, where serious weirdness blooms). Where do you think T.S. Eliot first published? In a literary magazine! (Maybe this is why you should submit to The Broken Plate and tell all your friends, too). Ask Blake if he would publish an excerpt of Ulysses in Lamination Colony. Do you read Lamination Colony? Blake would publish the damn excerpt, gladly (he published this, yo). So would Diagram. So would others.

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Then what would happen?

Young Mr. Joyce would meet someone from Calamari Press (or fill in the others) at a hipster bar and would talk all PBR and then send an IM/TEXT/iPhone book submit app/whatever twatter thing, the fuck and send them the manuscript. Sure, it would be rejected 189 times then kick around for a dusty while, but there are still Sylvia Beaches in the world, and the book would GET PUBLISHED by a small press. The print run would be about 114 copies. The cover would hurt your retinas.

[BTW, Calamari, your web page is getting seriously messy]

Then what?

Joyce would do a reading in Nebraska and pass out on some woman’s couch and it just happens an agent (though maybe not as colorful as Blake’s new agent!) is passed out right there on the floor by the couch and a bunch of networking stuff maybe drugs and an older author would take Joyce under her wings for a little while because, you know, the writing is actually really fucking good (though weird), and phone calls/emails and next thing you know Ulysses is optioned by Miramax and when the agent knows that he can spin off the book rights, the momentum is working, things popping, clicking, and there you go Ulysses is published by Random House, etc.

So, yes, Ulysses would be published, folks. That question is deader than line dancing. Let’s proceed.

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2.) Will these writer/bloggers continue to give us behind-the-scene insight now that they have gone mainstream?

It’s an interesting question, and one way that the Indie sensibility can provide a significant purpose. When the stakes were lower (and the print runs), we always got the process of this Indy lit world. The writing and little bundles of hope and submissions and rejections and cranes of lifting pens and copy editing and beer spills and every object/every colour and gray winter chairs, more chairs, and vertical lines and nostalgia cries and type style and day crossing into days and True Type Please and running far and running head and permission and intermission and intern armies of the night and liftout and dropout and attribution and black jackets and swaying trains and format and CRT and Sam Pinks and semicolons and the big-ass sky and inflected form of readingness and wheels all falling off and wheels and deals and little big people alongside the highway shoulders, etc.

This type of thing is helpful to readers and writers, and is a type of art form in itself, a merge of scholarship/craft/everyday as wonderful. This type of thing is necessary, in the artistic sense. Will these insights continue? We don’t know.

With Shane, most likely not. Though earlier in his career (and blog) he wrote about his artistic (and practical writer) process more clearly, the LB phenomenon has been pretty close-to-the chest. His blog appears reticent to explore the issue of the whirlwind around Light Boxes. That’s fine, and some of this is Shane’s blog personality, and I would expect the same in the future. I don’t see a lot coming, as far as this new mainstream world, the nitty-gritty of How-This-is-Done/Doing. I could be wrong, I often am.

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However, information gets out there other ways. Here is an excellent example, via an interview with Shane’s original small press publisher: Here.

With Blake, it’s another thing entirely. His blog is more expansive, loose, sometimes drunkenly so. And Blake will blog about the thrill of holding a book with your name on the spine, about years of writing and reading before even publishing one story, about the tireless minutia/elbow grease/luck of getting one book (never mind many!) out into the world. We’ll have to see how he handles this next step, but I think with both Blake and Shane (and the future others), it is important to record, to discover, to share; in a word, to continue the BLOG of the experience. It affects others writers. It matters.

3.)Will Tao Lin be next?

It won’t be for lack of effort.

4.) Will the BIG PRESS do for these writers what the small presses did?

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The boulder, the car, the photographer, or the boy? Which is the mainstream press? Discuss.

To put it simply, will these big houses be best for these writers, and their sensibilities we admire? Will these houses remain focused on the literary? Will their marketing be innovative and authentic? Will these books get lost in the massive lists of these houses? Will these artists be nurtured, for the long term? Will the books be beautiful artifacts? Will they be placed in innovative locations? Will these conglomerates be OK if there is no quick return on investment? Will the editor be there, again for the long run? What will be the shelf life? Will the book be kept in print? In the end, will they care? We want them to care.

I don’t know the answers, but I’d like to. I’ll be watching (and reading! reading!), so I hope these writer/bloggers continue to share (back to discussion point # 2 above).

In the end, hooray! Good people publishing good books. This is what we want, folks. Oh, and one more thing. The next time I meet Shane Jones or Blake Butler (or anyone else Indy who now goes mainstream), they better know who is buying the beer. After the first one, it ain’t me.

S

Bambi Tenderloin or Maybe Read New Dogzplot Now.

You get the venison tenderloin and you butterfly the tenderloin and you broil like golden warbles 2 minutes, flip, and you add the thin as fingerprints layer of pesto sauce and broil two minutes and add the fat big firm tomato and add the slice of electricity hollow provolone and there you go, there you go, 100% organic steroid free no hormones never caged since I know I arrowed it with a bow at 10 yards quartering away (most ethical angle for arrow penetration/lethality/double lung/heart) and I kill what I eat and maybe less abstract not like an aluminum ball passed through a drive-thru window or cellophane and the blood is on my hands like maybe eons ago and that’s how I am trying/caring to and also vegetarian is good if I shoot no deer I go vegetarian and tonight it tasted like big as God pale raspberries on a 14,000 private party cobbler of rhinestone hats all creamy.

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The new Dogzplot is here and it is chunky loaded! This is exactly why I love online lit mags, an eclectic mix, arriving in my computer box of groove.

–There is an interview of Adam Robinson I find rather good. It is a mix of useful info and then the usual Dogzplot humorous questions/answers/riff, so a lively read. I prefer this format to the earlier Dogzplot way, which can sometimes ONLY be quirky question and answer, without writing/publishing/process content by the writer (example Mary Miller). I prefer the style/pop/glow of Adam’s interview, but that’s just me.

–There is story by Amy Holloran I liked because I love persona fiction, ones where writer inhabits persona or even just visits with persona and maybe relates to, or changes with, or persona as big ol’ objective correlative, like here, where narrator is, “I am alienated. Want to leave my situation. Want to fly. Help me, Amelia Earhart.”

Another example, from Smokelong Q, the excellent flash, “Raymond Carver.” This kicks ass: Dan Chaon actually writes a Carver type story with Carver in the story, as character, and in the way the story as homage and satire and all meta-crazy form=function. My point is persona fiction can be many things.

[I actually wrote a letter story once to the same flying and lost woman, Amelia Earhart]

–I love bar stories and Paulette Livers brings it with this one. Why? Language lined liked rows of beer. Author brings the words in big-ass foamy sentences of glass.

shambles over and slumps into the booth katty-corner

The bicycle folds into the churning water like walnuts in chocolate cake batter…

etc. etc. etc.

People break up so easy in the movies. Like Jenifer’s A’s character will go, “Look Stan, I realized something today while throwing a football in Central Park with a black lab montage: you’re just not the man for me. The marriage is off.” And Stan will shrug and go, “Uh, OK” and walk off. Anyway I was just thinking this after reading Donora Hillard’s “Devolution,” a break-up poem thing I do love. Seems real here, not spangly.

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You think relationships are easy? Well, fuck you in the note of C!!!

I also love Shriparna Sarkar’s “Ebb.”

I didn’t enjoy the line “ocean of stars” because it seemed ordinary, but the others did not seem ordinary and anyone who can grill venom, who can write, “when their venom is grilled/folded up” is OK, better than OK with me, so I just said I love this poem.

The others poems in this issue I just like.

Great issue of Dogzplot. I am thankful. Made me read and think and read and then, uh, think. So. I hope everyone knows to read online lit mags exclusively for 3 months then go back to print if you want but be sure to read both because why catch a comet-bus line way that is already gone or something. Twitter sucks.

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I got my Hayden’s Ferry contract today and they pay. Wow. They pay money. Wow. OK, beer money for me. I once wrote a story and was paid a sweet one thousand dollars. That will never happen again. The Denver Post used to pay me to write about crayfish. That won’t happen either. Not sure where I am going with this. Pay me or not, I will write something once in a while either way.

BTW, I used to think HFR was the slowest lit mag in the mega-verse as far as contacting a writer for an accept/reject/whatever, but I guess they have changed a few things. Their correspondence has been crisp. So heads up. Send them something.

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I need to run 10 miles this morning. My hamstring feels like fuck. My left foot throbs like the story she told herself at the kitchen table. Painful. Oh well. Shut up Sean stupid-ass waaa-waaa ( me no like complainers) of and go run.

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S

How Close Will I Get to David Fucking Sedaris?

I won a grant at my work. Writing the grant felt like wrestling a mosquito. I guess you think wrestling a mosquito is no big deal, but, like all of us, you are looking at the world through bird-slam (your own) lenses. You are trying to fold paper 14 times in half (impossible), but you can’t see the futility. The mosquito lurks, is hell to slam down and headlock,  is actually the world’s deadliest animal, killing over two million humans a year.

The shark? 12 is about average. 20 would be a great year for the shark.

2 million versus 20…Well, now you learned something.

BSU buys out my class so I can write a flash fiction collection. Ok. I will do that, sir. BSU is great that way. They give you $$$ for ideas. I have to write the book, yes? I am the sound of haze now.

Do you know what having a class bought out means to a professor? Let’ s put it this way. Say, theoretically, you work selling a mechanical cone that turns the ice cream for lazy people, so they don’t have to twist their own hand, thus exhausting them, burning unnecessary calories, tempting carpal tunnel, all that. OK, great product, obviously. So you are busy selling! And one day your boss, Mr. Harvey Amsterdam, pulls you into his office and says, “Worm (only people named Worm would sell this particular item), take Friday off for the next 6 months. Show up 4 days a week, but we’ll give you your usual salary. Spend Friday playing disc golf or gambling on horses or reading a river for smallmouth bass or even penning a collection of flash fiction about every drug–legal or otherwise–used regularly in society today. Are you OK with that?”

Worm is OK with that, sir!!

(OK it might not be that awesome, but close–but professors have crazy new tasks, duties that pop up like sudden rain clouds. I’m just saying it’s a relief. It cools things down a little, like a, uh, rain cloud.)

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Yes, D and I got our Sedaris tickets today. Word to your comical/Seinfeld type essay about nothing but implying the nothing moments of life have significance in the attentive writer’s hands!

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And D and I will see him read, but I would actually like “contact” at these prices, a signed book, a photo. I mean come on, David. This is Muncie, Indiana, not France (I have no fucking idea what that means.). I really just want to hear his weird squeaky Mike Tyson/Jackson voice in person. And to hug him. To squeeze the irony from his bones.

I have not paid a ticket to see a live reading in ages. The last one I ate sushi and got drunk on Sake and showed up at Dave Eggers and yelled out, “Where is Toph?”

(the link above not so Toph, but a great read after 3 beers.)

Dave pauses, then goes kinda tight voice: “What is this, a revolution?” (lame response, no one laughed). Then Eggers changes tone, calm; he says, “Toph is in the Coast Guard. He’s doing fine.” (perfectly cool response; people settled into their seats well after that one, hit their respective flasks).

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“I don’t really believe in progress—I don’t think I am getting better or worse. I’m just different moment to moment to moment.”

Michael Martone.

(I find this interview amazing)

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This next part will interest no one. If you do not play disc golf, ignore. (Or start playing. The game is actually better–long term–than heroin.)

But, one day last summer, I lost my # 1 utility disc, meaning my get-out-of-trouble disc. I threw it into the cold heart of a deep lake. I went for it, and lost, but at least I went for it (I believe we regret what we do not do in life, not what we do). But was this an exception? It hurt me for months. It went Canada on the shrubbery of my heart. I couldn’t replace this disc! I tried out so many impostors. They sucked. They flew like a bandaged boil. I was losing a stroke per round, maybe 2, 3, 4 on technical courses.

That one disc was rare, a KC pro 11X TeeBird. I mean it will cost you…

Then Mark Neely found a replacement disc in a super badass store in Florida!!! Thank you Mark!!! He bought it for me. I thank him. I do thank him! (And will soon use this disc to beat him down.)

ee

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Happy St.Patrick’s Day to all. I don’t really get a holiday where people drink a lot of beer. I don’t even really get beer. But whatever.

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Irish Nachos...

S

50 Life Sentences AWP 2009 (my head is a chewing leg)

I couldn’t blog in Chicago. I was too drunk or too busy with work or too compartmentalized. No, that wasn’t it. The hotel’s internet was slow like boiled sugar. A lot of people told me their Internet didn’t work in Chicago. Didn’t work well. I think I heard the term sluggish. I heard a lot of great terms in Chicago. I heard Painbis, hip-swinging, also annihilates. Words and writers of words appeared in front of me like kicked doors, or armored saints growing day to day.

I am going to blog now; I call this:

50 Life Sentences AWP 2009

1.) I have arguments inside my compartments.

2.) Shards inside I feel the need to fill, with alcohol, rationalizations blue, interstitial fluid, food.

3.) My many Chicago meals were triangles.

4.) A goal of mine was triangles…

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5.) A goal of mine was to meet Kim Chinquee.

6.) Why didn’t I take a photo?

7.) Why was I too afraid to take a photo, to seal my memory in everlasting angles, perfect ghosts, in queens and hearts of glimmer?

8.) The poker game was a ghost everyone was talking about but no one had actually seen (like sustained love?).

9.) The poker game was mystical as a flower (on the moon).

10.) Listeners at readings whoop, laugh, bloom and flutter.

11.) Listeners at readings will buy you bourbon, will buy you shots of congratulatory bourbon, and you will drink that golden sun-struck poison like a harness-maker, like a household of leaking cells, drink them all and all and very well…

12.) In the swanky hotel lobby of the Hilton, Blake Butler voiced an opinion that authors shouldn’t just pick humorous work for a reading, just to be funny, etc., and I agree and disagree: They shouldn’t pick just funny work; they should pick funny work that is also sexual.

13.) I have arguments at Abjective.

14.) I have arguments inside my compartments, my flux and flow.

15.) Why didn’t I take the photo?

16.) I can’t get my head around Chicago, my actions, non-actions, and faulty do/do not/residue.

17.) Right alongside my heart, a nick of rib bone, I keep shaking inside like the El.

18.) I was intimidated by the El then learned to observe, conform, climb aboard, overcome something, or some thought inside my skull rolling.

19.) To meet (drift and swerve) with Samuel Ligon was glacial, as in very very cool.

20.) To meet Jac Jemc was glacial, as in very, very cool.

21.) To meet Molly and Matt and all others glowing was glacial, as in very, very cool.

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22.) My many Chicago meals were fermented/distilled liquid.

23.) My many Chicago meals were squid, were prawn.

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24.) My co-eaters were 1.) a woman who was raised in a “town” (my quotes) of 92 people, who runs marathons and swims with whale sharks; and 2.) a woman who writes drafts of poems about experience so recent (the El looping) so quickly and fine it makes me shiver.

25.) I bought sake and rode its candy-cane high.

26.) I bought more sake, diet cola and books (stored in my car, a Shane Jones signed book, Barry Graham signed book, Mary Miller, others…).

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27.) I bought a form of hesitation, medication, some other ation.

28.) I bought the poison and inhaled the poison.

29.) I bought the books; I bought the books in front of the SmokeLong table.

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30.) Mary Miller signed the books.

31.) Why didn’t I know she was awesome?

32.) At my age, why don’t I know what I am doing?

33.) I read her book immediately, last night, such likable object, such simpatico of scene and non-scene (I know so well, beer cap moth-ing through air), such castles of crickets and leftover wine.

34.) Sometimes I watched, in all my hours shifting weightless.

35.) Sometimes I watched others and wanted to be with them, or be them.

36.) Sometimes, less often, I felt watched, or should I say observed.

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37.) To be my age and feel lostly.

38.) To feel hesitation and unrest.

39.) the photo…

40.) Why do you think I didn’t take the photo?

41.) Honestly.

42.) Why?

43.) I felt this blue crackling in the air.

44.) I felt this moment after.

45.) Of course I took the photo!

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46.) (A man can only shelter so much regret…)

47.) (I am learning.)

48.) (and now.)

49.) and now.

50.) And..well, now.