"[My relationships were] like I was in these movies where the script was only half-written. When I’d get to the end of this half-script, the other actors wanted me to ad lib. But I had never gotten the hang of that. That’s why these movies were always box-office failures. Six of them in the past twenty years. I always blew the lines." ~ from my horrible first novel "Learn How To Pretend." (unpublished)(obviously)

Friday, February 27, 2009

It's Official

I've always been a big fan of the word Official. But like in the "Official Secret Decoder Ring" sense.

But today's news is Official, but not in that sense. Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from the director of the Creative Writing Program at UNM to let me know that I'd been accepted into the MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)for next fall. This was a huge relief for me as I'd been sweating it out.

The next step is to somehow get awarded a teaching assistantship, which means that A.) I won't pay any tuition, B.) I'll get paid about $20K for two semesters, and C.) I'll have health care again. In other words, I'll get paid to get a Masters degree. Of course I will have to teach English to a bunch of college freshmen, but hell. I can do that.

I hope.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Great Quote

"You only had to watch Bobby Jindal's hopeless effort to be the new, racially inclusive face of the Republican Party-it was like having Dougie Howser, M.D. follow Hugh Jackman MC."

Tina Brown on The Daily Beast

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's Unofficial

Since nobody ever reads this thing anyway, I can give out this unofficial news:

I've received unofficial word that i have been accepted into the Creative Writing MFA program at UNM for the fall of 2009. I still have to get the official notice from graduate admissions, but that's the word on the street.

And, of course, I have to get the funding.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The lights on the bus

The lights on the bus are flashing in time with my music. Corpus Christi Bay. Cool.

I sent the above message from my phone this morning. I was listening to Robert Earl Keen's "Corpus Christi Bay" on the iPod, and the emergency flashers on the bus I was waiting for were flashing in perfect time. I kept expecting it to drift off, like how sometimes your turn-signal and the one of the car in front of you will be in sync, but after a couple of clicks, nada. But it did it through the whole song...

Christ, I need some sleep. Only three weeks into the final semester, and I'm fried crispy.

It takes a lot of effort to go to my classes each day. I feel like just giving up.

I heard from one of my professor's today that they are in the process of reading MFA program applications. He felt certain I was in the very top group, but the question had to do with how many students they were going to admit. Usually it is 3-5.

I heard from another professor a few weeks ago that there were questions about the program in general for next year due to some internal struggles. Jesus, what a bunch of fucking babies! Grow up.

I got accepted at Chatham Colege in Pittsburgh, and I'd love to go, but we just can't afford to leave NM right now.

Where the hells the ice cream?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Black Swan author's rules for living

from Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow
Avi sez, "Nassim Nicholas Taleb, gadfly author of The Black Swan, gives his 10 rules for surviving an unpredictable world with dignity."

1 Scepticism is effortful and costly. It is better to be sceptical about matters of large consequences, and be imperfect, foolish and human in the small and the aesthetic.

2 Go to parties. You can’t even start to know what you may find on the envelope of serendipity. If you suffer from agoraphobia, send colleagues.

3 It’s not a good idea to take a forecast from someone wearing a tie. If possible, tease people who take themselves and their knowledge too seriously.

4 Wear your best for your execution and stand dignified. Your last recourse against randomness is how you act — if you can’t control outcomes, you can control the elegance of your behaviour. You will always have the last word.

5 Don’t disturb complicated systems that have been around for a very long time. We don’t understand their logic. Don’t pollute the planet. Leave it the way we found it, regardless of scientific ‘evidence’.

6 Learn to fail with pride — and do so fast and cleanly. Maximise trial and error — by mastering the error part.

7 Avoid losers. If you hear someone use the words ‘impossible’, ‘never’, ‘too difficult’ too often, drop him or her from your social network. Never take ‘no’ for an answer (conversely, take most ‘yeses’ as ‘most probably’).

8 Don’t read newspapers for the news (just for the gossip and, of course, profiles of authors). The best filter to know if the news matters is if you hear it in cafes, restaurants... or (again) parties.

9 Hard work will get you a professorship or a BMW. You need both work and luck for a Booker, a Nobel or a private jet.

10 Answer e-mails from junior people before more senior ones. Junior people have further to go and tend to remember who slighted them.

Readers build vivid mental simulations of narrative situations, brain scans suggest

This is some trippy shit. As a writer, I'm extremely interested in fiction theory and the effects of story on the human mind.

This article,Readers build vivid mental simulations of narrative situations, brain scans suggest,lays out how when a reader really grasps a story, areas of the brain associated with... Ummm... Oh just read it.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sayings of the Jewish Buddha

If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?

Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated?

Drink tea and nourish life; with the first sip, joy; with the second sip, satisfaction; with the third sip, peace; with the fourth, a Danish.

Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.

Accept misfortune as a blessing. Do not wish for perfect health, or a life without problems. What would you talk about?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single Oy.

There is no escaping karma. In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited. And whose fault was that?

Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.

The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame.. The Tao does not take sides. The Tao has no expectations. The Tao demands nothing of others. The Tao is not Jewish.

Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this and attaining Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

Let your mind be as a floating cloud. Let your stillness be as a wooded glen. And sit up straight. You'll never meet the Buddha with such rounded shoulders.

Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.

Be aware of your body. Be aware of your perceptions. Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.

The Torah says, Love your neighbor as yourself.. The Buddha says, There is no self. So ... maybe we're off the hook?