jackshoegazer: (Writing/Once)
Way back in ye olde 1977, a book mobile swerved to avoid a dinosaur crossing the street and collided with a semi-truck full of camera equipment. Jack Shoegazer sprouted fully-formed from the resulting toxic inferno. Since then, he has been haunted by his dual nature of writer and photographer and is ruled by his misguided attempts to unite this dichotomy. He currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his fiancée, Jacquelyn and his son, Ethan, who believe Jack was born in Indiana to lower-middle class blue-collar laborers. Shhhh. 


Junk DNA

Feb. 5th, 2012 06:02 pm
jackshoegazer: (Writing/Typehead)
Sometimes, I need to write junk before I get started writing "for real."  Usually I junk the primer text, but I figured I'd keep it for posterity.  Here's today's junk:

"Last night I won a gibberish contest for saying, “Hamsnibblefunqui: ztonicfooschnick enlickin – yam, gmocktootlickin boo nickinflick.”  I thought the guy who  tried to explain libertarianism should have won, but he only placed second."

jackshoegazer: (Default)
Yo, yoisthisracist.com is one funny motherfucking website.

I've been reading William Wordsworth and Mary Wollstonecraft and whatever Christian monk wrote down Beowulf and I'm about to start read Canterbury Tales in Middle English, which sounds pretty hilarious, actually.

I'm also reading about how the World Bank and the IMF have bankrupted tons of countries, forcing them to gouge public spending, so you know, no health care whatsoever.  NGOs cry out, "Why is the infant mortality rate so high in Mozambique!?"  And they hire anthropologists to say, "They have a culture that resists modern medicine and they believe in witchcraft and blah blah blah."  When really, there's no social safety net at all, there's no affordable healthcare, what heathcare there is is overpriced, and there's a giant history of colonialism and imperialism.

So seriously, fuck y'all.  I'm mad.

I'm also writing a lot because my intermediate fiction workshop requires five pages per week plus two 10-20 page stories.  I also submitted three poems to The Madison Review, which would be my first for-real publication if I get selected.  This is where I start developing a thick skin for rejections, right?

I also need to come up with some good plots for the two stories I need to write this semester.  Everything I've got are either novels or flashfiction length ideas, and I need something in the middle.

Jacquelyn is interviewing for her first post-doc position as I type this.  She has another interview next week as well.  We're really in countdown mode right now.  She's aiming to finish her PhD by June and she may be starting her postdoc immediately after, so we've got about five more months of living together before she heads off and I'm left here for a year by my lonesome.

If it were just a year, it wouldn't be too terrible, but I'm considering an MFA program after I graduate, and I'm adopting "Go Big or Go Home" as my motto for my career, so I'm going to apply to Iowa and some of the more reputable programs.  You know, the few where literary agents actually scout for writers.  But then, what if I end up writing genre?  I had so much fun with my pseudo-detective story last semester, that I'm tempted to write another one.

Anyway, that means we might be apart for a lot longer.  There's always the possibility that I could get into a program wherever Jacquelyn is postdocing.  Who knows?  And that's sort of where some of the stress comes in is just the uncertainty.  And yesterday I was feeling awesome about my writing and today I hate every letter and I feel dense and stupid.

So yeah.  That's where I am.  And here I am:

jackshoegazer: (Skull/Bullseye)
I think I'll be reading something like 300-400 pages per week this semester.
jackshoegazer: (Default)
I may not care much for winter, but winter fashion makes up for it a bit. Summer fashion sucks. I wouldn't cry if I never had to wear shorts and a t-shirt ever again.
jackshoegazer: (Random/Scratch)

I've been sick for several days.  I've been able to rally myself for short trips to the Veteran's Museum and the new Chazen Art Museum, but otherwise, I've been sitting around coughing and blowing my nose and reading the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy, which I read in like four days.
jackshoegazer: (Default)


Pictures! )
jackshoegazer: (Random/Battle)
I'm not going to do any end of the year memes this time around.  I didn't record my book reading for the fall because I pretty much only read journal articles about paleoanthropology and Shakespeare.  Jacquelyn read me A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which was really good.  The Lost City of Z was a great read.  I re-read The Corrections which is just a good if not better than the first reading.  

I completed a year of school.  I'm doing pretty well.  This last semester was two A's and two B's.  I wrote several poems and a short story for my writing workshop of which I'm fairly proud.

Ethan decided to move in with his mom, which sucks a big one.  Under the assumption that a new setting would give him a fresh start.  Which it hasn't.  And that sucks even more.  He's still funny and smart and charming.  He just doesn't do homework and fails his classes.  he's recently gotten interested in going to culinary school, so here's to hoping that having an interest turns him around?

Don't forget: I got married, which is kind of the highlight of the year.  That weekend was amazing.  It was everything I wanted it to be, was as powerful and meaningful as I wanted it to be.  Pure awesome.  Magickally imprinted a spot of space-time.

Perhaps I could get more excited about this last year, but I'm nursing a headache and there's people on the way over to get drink and play games.  Half of me is stuck in bodily-pain and the other half is miles above, looking down, looking out over the far horizon, at the path already forged and the path ahead.
jackshoegazer: (Jesus/Hipster)
So, Chris Hitchens died.  The really snarky part of me wants to say something about evangelical atheism's supreme pontiff dying.  But the less snarky part of me sympathises with their loss.  Atheists don't have an easy time.  And Hitchens was a smart guy who articulated that belief system very eloquently.  Good for them, good for him.  And I applaud a belief system that says that you should be a good, moral person without the promise of a jolly sexy afterlife.

What I take issue with is what Hitchens pushed as "antitheism" which is pretty fucked.  Hitchens said that he didn't need a god, didn't want a god.  That's fine, but to press the idea that no one should have one because they can't prove its existence is fucked.  Some people need a God, or the promise of something better after this is all over.  Life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, as they say.  Some people, and maybe even a grand majority of people, need something else to relieve that reality.  Let them have it.

My issue is with fundamentalism, evangelism, with pressing your beliefs on others.  I'm not an atheist.  I'm not a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or anything really.  I guess I'm technically a Copenhagen Model Agnostic.  But the way I see it is that the one thing humans do really, really, well is make meaning.  We can take something as mundane as a tree falling in the woods and make it mean something.  We tell stories, we put things in order, we make narratives, and we infuse the world with meaning.

If you live your life and look around and what you come up with, if seeing glory in the random-chance chaotic construction of the universe without a god and that means something to you, awesome.  If this model you've built in your skull helps you live a better, more meaningful life? Keep on keepin' on, brother.  If you look around and what makes sense to you, the way you build your model of the universe, in all this chaos if what makes the most sense to you is a loving creator who watches over you and cares about your redemption, and this helps you live a better, more meaningful life, fucking awesome.

And so forth.

But don't run around like a fucking douche-canoe making everyone else prove their model to you.  We all share our models.  We all like our models best.  We want people to understand us, to see the beauty we see in our models.  It's only human to want to share the beauty we see, the meaning we find in life.  That's fine.  But when you go and break another kid's train, well, fuck you.  Go stand in the corner, you rotten shit.
jackshoegazer: (Default)
One class done, three to go.  My last workshop was today.  We recited a memorized poem.  I picked "60 yard pass" by Bukowski.  We handed in our final portfolios.  The end.  I would think I'd get an A in that class, but who can say how such things are graded.

On Thursday I have my last exam in The Emergence of Human Culture.

After that, nothing until my last two exams next Wednesday.  I'll be watching a lot of Shakespeare and looking at French flashcards.
jackshoegazer: (Jesus/Dinosaur)
There is a regular proselytizer on campus who hands out Christian literature, little comic books illustrating Bible verses and the like.  Normally, I don't have a problem with him and I often take the little handouts for an entertaining read.  I do love religion after all.

However, today, when I walked past, he was yelling about almighty God and the usual propaganda when one particular phrase jumped out at me.  "YOU DON'T HAVE TO DIE."

And I just wanted to grab him and say, "Yes, I'm sorry, but you do.  You have to die.  You are going to die.  And nothing is going to stop it.  You are going to die.  The end.  Nothing you believe, nothing you say is going to erase one little bit of that fact.  It takes incredible strength to live your life in a good and noble way, knowing that in the end, you will die.  So maybe, just maybe you should be concerned about your own life and your own legacy in this world than in some imaginary one in the next."

I don't know why that grated on me today.  Because I don't not-believe in an afterlife or reincarnation or heaven or any of it.  It's all just as likely as eternity as worm food.  I just think that, well, we should "be working for a paycheck, rather than waiting for the lottery."
jackshoegazer: (Writing/Typehead)
Revising poems is hard.
jackshoegazer: (Rave/Disco)

Click to embiggen

(This isn't the one I was talking about in my previous post.)
jackshoegazer: (Writing/Fiction)
The other day while I was running, I was listening to the audiobook of Breakfast of Champions and I got to the climax of the book, when Dwayne Hoover goes on his rampage and Rabo Karabekian explains his painting to the citizens of Midland City.  He explains that his abstract painting, a single band of color on a dark backdrop is a human soul.  That when you strip away everything else away, when you take away gender and race and class and setting and context, all you have left is a single unwavering band of light.  In his ugly painting, there was beauty if it was but understood.  At this point Dwayne Hoover, who has just learned that people don't have souls, that they are just robots programmed to do whatever they are doing, goes on a rampage and starts to beat people up, because they don't feel anything.  They don't have souls.

The Temptation of St. Anthony

And I was thinking about Bukowski's "60 yard pass" and how he says that without "the possibility of the miracle" (and a miracle is a work of God, something divine, the soul's action on the Earth) that he would "shoot all the lights out of this fucking city."  Bukowski, like Dwayne Hoover, would rampage and destroy everything if it wasn't for the miracle.  Bukowski even refers to people as "malfunctioning," like they are Dwayne's robots.

And I worry that's one of the reasons everything is so fucked.  For so many people, people are robots, they are soulless worthless things.  That nothing is sacred.  The Earth is just a thing and things don't matter.  We have seven billion people on the planet and so many of them are shooting the lights out of the fucking city right now.
jackshoegazer: (Random/Battle)
Sometimes, I want to make LJ posts just to use the strange new icons I find.

I've also been eating clementines.


jackshoegazer: (Default)

February 2012

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