The funny thing about Islamic revolutions (Iran 1979, etc…) is that they are far more western than Islamic. Murdering scores of people who don’t fit with the ideology? Yo, that’s some Robespierre shit. They learned revolution from us. Historically the Middle East (pre invasion of western thought) was extremely inclusive even during upheavals (to Muslims, Jews, and Christians at least).
Just more crap from my notes.
Robert watched as the guys loaded his couch into the moving van. He’d spent five years in that apartment; hanging out on that couch, glancing out the window, fumbling with women, eating cold delivery food, and shooting the shit with the occasional buddy.
Sure, go to New York. Get a good job. Post pictures of brunch in your Facebook feed so that your bumpkin relatives back home can see how well you’ve done for yourself. Humble brag about all of the obnoxious Ok Cupid dates that you’ve been going on—your way of telling the world that you’re still getting laid. Even at thirty-five. Which is the new twenty-five—and that’s something that those fucking bumpkins back in Midwestville would know if only they’d refrain from knocking each other up before their twenty-first birthdays.
I compiled the four volumes of Purgatory, NY into an omnibus—that’s what the cool kids are calling them, right?—so that means that you can pick up the entire novel right now! Kindle only. I have yet to go through the agony of formatting the book for print because, well, I’m writing a lot. Also I have to fuck about with ISBNs and admin stuff that makes my eyes glaze over before I can really send it off to print.
Anyway, if one of my three or four fans and you’ve been holding out because buying four novellas seems like a silly idea, then you are IN LUCK.
I’m not interested in reviewing people’s stuff, but I think I’m going to start posting from time to time about what I’m reading and what my immediate reactions are to the books.
Finished 100 Years of Solitude. <3 (I know, I know, but I only just got around to it).
Also reading a bit of local stuff. Just finished We All Sleep In The Same Room. Great first novel, the pacing was rushed toward the end. But, it was super cool to see that, as it’s exactly the same sort weakness that tends to shows up in my stuff, especially in the earlier drafts—at least until Laura reads something and says, “Wait, how the fuck did that happen right then? Just after that? I’m confused.” All in all, it’s a good novel, not really my genre, but very well written.
Continuing the trend of local stuff, I finally got a subscription to N+1. Mainly because it showcases new writers who are super talented. Because they’re new there are rough edges and it’s super helpful for me to see where other people slip up (and what makes their work good despite the slip ups). Reading stuff in The New Yorker is great, but there are usually a lot fewer chinks in the armor to learn from.
Also in the middle of The Conspiracy Against The Human Race which very much outlines the philosophy that Rust Cohle espoused in True Detective. A super dark take on philosophical pessimism. The basic position is that the human race would be better off if it never existed. Very anti-natalist, anti-existence. Super interesting, if a bit weak in the logic department.
Another excerpt from the upcoming project. Paying a little RAW tribute as well.
A gavel struck wood. It was starting. They led the candidate into the center of the room. He was wearing a white tunic with one sleeve. A noose, or as the brothers called it, a “cable tow”, was fastened around his neck and dangling loosely on his chest.
The Worshipful Impirator’s voice echoed in the room, “Do you feel that?” A long, ceremonial sword was placed against the candidate’s chest through a slit in the tunic’s fabric.
A drop of blood fell from the place where the tip of the sword pressed against the candidate’s flesh.
The ritual continued.
Cargill’s apron was sitting funny on his waist. It was heavy. The sigils and emblems on it were made of lead and they tugged it at an angle that was uncomfortable. He’d lost himself in thought as the The Impirator was leading the candidate through the oath, which acknowledged his understanding of the punishment for divulging the secrets of the initiation ceremony.
"… These several points I solemnly swear to observe, without evasion, equivocation, or mental reservation of any kind, under no less a penalty, on the violation of any of them than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by the root and buried in the sand of the sea at low water mark, or a cable’s length from the shore, where the tide regularly ebbs and flow twice in 24 hours and being branded a willfully perjured individual, void of all moral worth, and totally unfit to be received into this worshipful Lodge."
They Impirator licked his lips as he recited the oath for the candidate to repeat, his forked tongue darting out from between his teeth. Sloppy. Even though the candidate was blindfolded it was still risky business to go around flaunting his reptilian tongue in full view of the other apprentices in the room. None of them had noticed, surely. Still it was a careless move and one that Cargill would have to bring up at the next Lodge meeting. Worshipful Impirator or not, there’s no excuse for that sort of indiscretion.
The Grand Lodge of Upper Bavaria was founded in 1767. Within seven years it had managed to sabotage wheat crops, kicking off revolutionary fervor in France. Within eight years of its founding it had managed to start a revolution in the American colonies. Its control of the British East India Company allowed it to push the English government to unload surplus tea on its New World colony, yet it was G.L.U.B. agents who disguised themselves as Indians while dumping that surplus into the ocean in protest.
Within ten years the Lodge had cemented itself as the orchestrating force in Europe, North America, and the Indian subcontinent. By the time the first Opium War had finished it had its hands firmly wrapped around China’s throat as well.
Ostensibly secret, theories abounded about the many conspiracies that the Lodge was involved with. Some true, some blatantly false. All of them were encouraged by the Lodge, though those who published them were smeared as fringe lunatics. All of which had the effect of creating an air of mystery and danger, enhancing the brand of the Lodge, while simultaneously shutting down any real scrutiny before it had a chance to snowball.
Two centuries of mostly unchecked power had the effect of turning several high ranking members into lizards. Cargill’s tongue split sometime in the mid eighteen hundreds. Boaz The Younger, the current Worshipful Impirator had only recently started to develop scales. Boaz The Elder, his older brother, had fully transformed around the same time as Cargill, fueling a bit of sibling rivalry.
In the banquet hall after the ceremony, Cargill sat at the far end of the Master’s table and poked at his roast pork with the tip of his knife. Its color was off, perhaps a little grey. The whole affair was off-putting, you’d think that an organization of their stature would be able to find a decent catering company.
"Your brother was flicking his goddamned tongue again, Boaz." Cargill said, trying not to think about the pork.
"He’s just excited, I’ll talk to him." Boaz was a thin man, tall and sallow. A sharp contrast to his rotund little brother. Not bothering to make a pretext of eating the pork, he asked, "How are things going? With the goat?"
"Mostly according to plan. In fact the building is fully occupied, we’ve got all of them in one place."
"Nobody suspects … ?"
"What would they suspect? It’s all just a series of uncanny coincidences as far as they’re concerned. I mean, that Mel woman, you could hit her in the face with the fiery fist of Jehova and she’d convince herself that she’d bumped her head on a lighbulb."
"Irrational skeptics. The best."
Boaz closed his eyes, as if in thought. Cargill watched him breathe, his chest slowly rising and falling, and marveled at how reptilian he’d become over the years, and how much the process had sped up over the last ten or fifteen.
Amazing life advice from Tim Minchin’s commencement speech at UWA. The man is a frickin’ treasure.
“We are such inward secret creatures, that inwardness is the most amazing thing about us, even more amazing than our reason. But we cannot just walk into the cavern and look around. Most of what we think we know about our minds is pseudo-knowledge. We are all such shocking poseurs, so good at inflating the importance of what we think we value.
—Iris Murdoch, The Sea, the Sea
Slaughterhouse90210 is the best.
Mountain man beards, lumberjack shirts, blah blah blah. I kinda like all that stuff. And I dig the aesthetic (despite all of those poor upstate churches and barns being milled into nice restaurant tables). And let’s face it, Edison lightbulbs are really fucking cool.
Anyway, I’m divided on this review. One one hand I find it amazingly well written, but on the other I’m not sure I agree. Maybe a little? But I also disagree fairly strongly with the notion that you somehow have to be authentically tied to your restaurant’s (or bar’s or boutique’s or whatever’s) theme.
Montana’s Trail House is a very bad place. Its rottenness is both inherent and cosmetic; it is culinarily insipid and morally insidious. It’s bad to the last splinter of its Kentucky wood. Parceling off generic objections to the ridiculous fantasia Bushwick has become, there is a deeply toxic relationship with history and with America embodied at Montana’s Trail House. One need not be from Appalachia to object to the fetishization of that impoverished region for the blithe consumption of faux Brooklyn frontiersmen and women.
The thing is, I don’t really have a problem with cultural appropriation. It’s just how shit goes. So what if white girls want to wear headdresses to music festivals? Or Miley Cyrus twerks (SO LAST YEAR)? Or little Jewish boys from New York want to grow big beards and wear lumberjack outfits? Whatever.
It’s a strange subject and one I feel a little bit conflicted about. And I actually come from a back-woods, mountain-man part of the world. I don’t share the moral outrage, but I will happily share a long, deep roll of the eyes with the author.
One thing is for certain: “7th-stoppers” is a nice turn of phrase.
Robert’s chest emptied of air. “You’re Jack?” This wasn’t how it went in his daydreams. On the bus he’d seen it a thousand times. His cousin would be this cool New Yorker who’d immediately take him under his wing and show him the sights of the city. Robert would feel a bit like a bumpkin but he’d have his Southern Charm in high gear—and he came from the epicenter of Southern Charm, where it sprung from the earth and dripped down the old Spanish walls and flowed from the brass horns that played the frantic gypsy jazz of his home town. They’d have adventures and misadventures. Be chased out of brothels and clubs and stagger drunkenly down side streets. But not this. Not some northerner who stank of last night’s whiskey, who looked like a frat boy on Bourbon Street after he’d emptied his guts onto the sidewalk and been collared by a mounted cop for trying to get too grabby with the shot girls (without ponying up the tip). Not this. Those two words were Robert’s way of saying that his heart had run down to his stomach to hide and didn’t want anymore of this stupid adventure. That it was time to go back to that bullshit shack in the 7th Ward and sit on his porch and keep to his own chickens.