Moistly or Mainly

I've long had an aversion to public appearances or performances-- no matter what pills I took to chill me out, I'd be a mess in front of an audience. As a nail who during formative years stuck way up & got hammered way down, the idea of being the center of attention hasn't subsequently appealed to me. During a live interview I conducted with Brian Boyles a couple years back, though it really wasn't at all even about me, I still sweat through an undershirt, a dress shirt, and the jacket of my seersucker-- it was fucking disgusting.

I've been trying to get better about this, so I did a couple of readings recently, both of my fiction.

One, in early April, was an entry in the Ninth Ward's venerable Blood Jet series where I read alongside novelist George Bishop, and the other, in early June, was a 'zine reading with a number of other zinesters I admire: Robb Roemershauser (who organized the reading), Nicole Jenelle, and Coatlin Keezly, who continues to churn out work that's low in profile and exceptionally high in qualitative density. If Keezly ever gets bored with being revered only within a relatively small circle of acquaintances and political actors, she will be one of the biggest deals to come out of post-post-K New Orleans.

At this second event I debuted Seditious Acts, a new chapbook/zine that some comrades put together and published. It's a compilation of some of my recent essays about the post-K political landscape, with a new introduction I wrote for the occasion, meant as a sort of primer for those newer to town or out-of-town-- anyone curious about anti-fascist resistance in New Orleans.

Both events were satisfyingly well-attended, and I'm pleased to report (especially given my rather limited wardrobe) that I barely sweat at all. I still don't like public speaking, but there are perhaps some dreads, like some allergies, one eventually just ages out of.

My writing on the racist violence of New Orleans police and new resistance by young people of color appears (in Spanish) in a recent collection from Argentinian publisher Tinta Limón, Nuevo Activismo Negro. Buy a copy here or here if you'd like.

The May 23 Gambit cover story was my in-depth profile of self-made local hero Luke Hawx. I don't have to like or respect someone (as I do Hawx) to get a good interview out of them; in fact, it's often more fun when there's disagreement. In Hawx's case, however, his blunt honesty and extremely compelling personal narrative speak for themselves. The Gambit's photo and graphics team also knocked this out of the park. I've quit trying to save print copies of publications in which my work appeared-- my housing situation has been variable & precarious the past several months, plus I just can't be bothered with more stuff-- but the print edition of that Gambit is so gloriously laid-out that I had to squirrel one away. I would refer you to the PDF version of it to appreciate the five-star visuals.

I am working on more, new, longer-form fiction, and also a tan so enviable that it will cost me friends. They will all choke on their jealousy: lovers, comrades, casual pals, friendly neighbors who only know me by sight. I aspire to a tan so profound that it interferes with my personal life, a tan that isolates me, a tan that inspires insurmountable antisocial resentment among the less tan, a subgroup which will encompass all anglos. Summer is here, and that's 100% fine with me.

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Live from the Kitchen

Hi friends, it's me, sunshine-dewhited sepulchrave Jules Bentley.

I've been in the kitchen-- actually, in a series of friends' and acquaintances' kitchens-- cooking up a whole simmerin' savory mess of verbiage for you to interlexually ingest. I've been floggin' some freelance-- lashin' up labour-- scourgin' up scut-- urticating some undertakings-- yes i've been whipping up work.

What sort of gluten-free typecakez have I been preparating? Here's an incomplete survey.

I collaborated with one of my closest friends/gurus, Coatlin Keezley, on a new 'zine for NOCAZ.
All, Caught is a series of anticapitalist interrogations of Pokémon, mostly from the French side of theory. We made a shit-ton of copies, & between NOCAZ and the 16th Annual New Orleans Bookfair we managed to sell them all. Maybe someday we'll make more??

I broke what I consider pretty big news story-- Margaret Sanchez taking a plea deal in the murder of Jaren Lockhart. It's a heck of a case; someone should write a book about it.

Moving from actual death and dismemberment to death-and-dismemberment-themed entertainment, I interviewed a pair of Southern Mississippi juggalo rappers. I really like this piece.

I interviewed the indefatigable journalistic justice-warrior Jordan Flaherty about his new book, a critique of the exact sort of framework I just used to describe him.

Did you know WrestleMania 2018 will return to New Orleans? I went predictably long on the WrestleMania 34 New Orleans press conference.

Just last week I interviewed a bunch of heart-achingly adorable young poets who've started a new poetry festival. These kids are thoughtful.

Over at Antigravity, I delivered a bop-pow pair of pieces on "activism" (a word I dislike) in the Trump era. My first, On Snitching and the Days Ahead, got p good traction. The follow-up, Get Behind The Mask, urged support for those arrested in New Orleans protesting the current president's inauguration (you can donate to them here) and also allowed me to savage a particularly rebarbative pig who'd written a column sobbing about mean protestors harming a parked cop car. Salty at being sonned so hard, he responded, pouncing on an eensy little factual quibble (I got a cop's name wrong), and took the opportunity to shoot his shot at impugning my idiom.

I'm not here to preach objectivity-- I'm about war-- but for what it's worth I'll stake my reputation (and my veracity) against NOPD's any damn day of the week. In the end, the whole situation is a bummer: I'm forever spoiling for a literary feud, so how revolting that when someone finally nuts up to take a crack at me in a public forum it's a stinking cop. I don't bandy bants with 12; some things are beneath even me.

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A Carefree Life

Hello readers. It's been an eventful couple months, but fear not: the Jules Bentley content-creation matrix is still grinding out garbage for you to jam in your eyeholes.

My latest eteliolated extrusion may be found draped limply across the cover of the Gambit Weekly: an interview with a couple graffiti artists I like. As Ben Passmore says, "I do envy people who have to commit crime to make their art."

Speaking of crimes, a vote back in April provided me all the excuse I needed to go hard la la la on the multiple tiers of law enforcement-- the piggurat, if you will-- afflicting the French Quarters. This is ostensibly part one of a multi-part series on control, movement and enclosure pertaining to new orleans, but something interesting about the future is that you just never fucking know what is going to happen. Like sometimes you can be a person who, despite a generally agnostic approach to reality, clings to certain inviolable forms of trust as Jules Bentley Gambit Coverbeing maybe the only fixed point relative to which one could conceivably orient oneself in the ocean of churning rancid horror that is modern life. And then one day you can find out you were a big stupid idiot! And the sun rises and the sun sets and the world keeps on or doesn't. So where is part 2? I can't decide whether following through or failing would be more boring. Both are boring.

I interviewed noise-lordz Hijoakaidan for the Gambit's blog. First time interviewing someone through a translator.

There may have been within this unaccountably narrow space some prevenient mention of, a supreme jockey-dropper of a zine I wrote back when I had slightly different priorities. There really aren't any left, but Silver Sprocket bought up the dregs to distro, so that's news.

Thanks for tuning in! don't forget to like and subscribe.

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Born In A Trunk


Buds are budding; I recently had occasion to cut my Dickies down to nice sassy booty-short length. The winter, which I dislike, is fading.

It was warm enough in Daytona Beach last weekend that my intern and I were able to swim in the Atlantic. I was there for VICE Sports to report on the Daytona 500. I used to live in Florida, and always liked it-- the biome, the people, the vibes. New Orleans has lately a lot of people arriving from the Bay Area and outer boroughs of New York City. As domestic immigrants go, I find I prefer those from Florida and Texas.

If you'd rather not read my thoughts on the Daytona 500, you can also have them read to you; some blogger in Toronto was moved to create an audio version.

I've written a few more pieces for Antigravity. I contributed a eulogy for the "blogstaurant" Booty's, which eulogy may or may not have functioned as the gelatin capsule enclosing a big dose of anti-capitalist vitriol. I also counseled the wearing of masks given the current surveillance climate and provided a year-end list of Premium Vapes.

Over at the Gambit, I conducted a gratifyingly spicy interview with Nyx of Total War Puppets and reviewed a "Virtual Mardi Gras Parade."

I tap out this blog entry from my newest writing space, a treehouse built out of old windows behind a collapsing Mad-Max-esque compound. After rent on the Brown Study doubled-- rendering it unaffordable-- I was very fortunate to land this spot at a rate I could afford. Working in a glass box is interesting. The residents of the compound, though they evince almost total indifference to the intriguing white ape occupying their backyard terrarium, could if they were so inclined look at me any time they liked. In fact, when they are in their backyard or the rear balcony on which they smoke, they must strive NOT to look at me. I find this funny, because I a.) like ridiculous situations and b.) am rather vain.

twisted shitttt bruhHow unmistakably imminently the cobbled-together treehouse is destined to fall down or catch fire inspires me to work harder than I normally would-- I must make the most of this space before entropy reclaims it and/or the entire city block is refashioned into condo townhouses. Every time I lose another New Orleans writing space I wonder: is this when I finally retreat into the swamp and leave city life behind forever?

Back in December I had the pleasure of contributing to the 14th Annual New Orleans Bookfair, and did some press around the event. The website "NOLAVie" ran a brief, humorous profile of me and I got to talk with my favorite radio station, WRBH. Enduring my moist, adenoidal voice for even this short duration may give you some insight into the pain I experience when obligated to transcribe audio of myself interviewing others.

Maximum RocknRoll and Slingshot both positively reviewed my zine Copies still available... hollerrrrrrr.

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Zine Better Days

maskphotoThe biggest thing I want to get across to you is how excited I am about my new zine, Its... publication, if you will... marks the print debut of what I'd term personal writing by Jules Bentley, as well as my abandonment of the apostrophe preceding "zine."

I sold a fuck-tonne of these at NOCAZ 2015, but I still have a handful. Check for info on where to get 'em, or buy a copy at the Dec 12 New Orleans Bookfair!

I'm working on several large, longer-term writing projects, but have excreted a few nuggets in the meantime, notably a piece for Vice's "America Incarcerated" series wherein I hovered creepily around the guards of Angola Penitentiary during a charity golf game held inside the prison walls. This piece gave me a chance to collaborate with one of my favorite photographers, Beau Patrick Coulon.

It's probably unbecoming of me to note this, but I can't help it: guys, DEUCE MCALLISTER retweeted the Angola piece!!! frickin Number 26 himself! So gratifying.

passmore-newspaperThe November issue of Antigravity featured my distilled take on some recent layoffs at the remotely digitized clusterfuck that was once our local daily newspaper. For a much, much longer take on the forces that destroyed the Times-Picayune, fire up the DeBorean for my 500,000 word (approx.) 2012 monograph.

The Hunker Downcast, a highly reputable local podcast, showed me a little love recently. I was also #blessed October 13 to join two comrades from the Carolinas on the New Orleans stop of their tour promoting a very worthwhile book, Dixie Be Damned. I delivered a paper on the 1926 Trappers War just down the road from here, when Isleños took up arms against local government. I'd urge anyone interested in the South's history of insurrection to read the fascinating interview with the authors conducted by Breonne DeDecker, and purchase the book from AK Press.

Seriously, though, check out my zine. It's goddamn good.

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Summer Born to Sweat Delight

they toil not, neither do they spinIt's been summer. Since neither my home nor my writing space are air-conditioned, my own subjectively experienced summer has been intensely, intrusively moment-to-moment summer, summer before everything else it's been.

While the heat is not ideal for GETTING WORK DONE-- which is of course what we're on earth for, to GET DONE as efficiently as possible all the important TASKS on our TO-DO LISTS-- I can drizzle cumulative gallons of sweat into my ancient external keyboard with no external ill effect. By contrast, my un-air-conditioned friends who work in paint or ink on paper struggle badly, losing hours of labor to blots.

The major summer-related challenge to my writing has been getting the sleep I need. Because the heat persists around the clock, I must have the window open. The open window admits mosquitoes, but one adjusts to that. What I cannot sleep through is "progress." Disgusting as it is to say, much of New Orleans is a construction zone, and the crews start promptly at eight a.m. If you are a long-time third-shift type whose writing space only begins cooling below "hellish' around ten p.m., sleep becomes scarce.

The Ghastly Glories of New Japan Pro Wrestling

On the bright side, sleep deprivation exacerbates or perhaps enhances my natural New Orleans summer-self: listless, lethargic, dreamy, too enervated to think clearly or take much action. It's not an unpleasant way to be, as long as you aren't afflicted with the disease Americans call ambition. I consider summer the time of year when the world around me finally slows to my preferred pace. Many (though never enough) of the grasping, hyperproductive assholes flee to cooler climates, and no-one who remains expects much from anyone. One week blends into the next, sludgy chunks of interchangeable dream-day passed in a scalding bath, a hazy crazy simmer, a months-long feverish fugue state. Exhaustion notwithstanding, I fucking love the summer.

GAM150811A001R0.inddI have gotten a few things done. I wrote a cover story for the Gambit about one of my more recent bad habits. I also conducted what I consider an above-average interview with the musician TIMEGHOST for Gambit, previewed UFC coming to town, and spoke with the co-editors of Mixed Company, a great new book of writing and art by New Orleans women of color.

I penned a couple more pieces for VICE, one about the first-ever Louisiana Indycar Grand Prix, one about a Japansese pro wrestling promotion I like.

Ben Passmore did the art for the latter. He also illustrated a big piece I did for Antigravity Magazine on the ideologies underwriting New Orleans' "Eat Local" movement.

boyles-bentley-boom-blackoutIf by chance you'd like to hire Passmore, my frequent collaborator and an artist so ridiculously talented that any praise I lavish on him seems superfluous, please visit Ben Passmore's new website.

I've also published a piece of critical writing in the queer literary magazine Plenitude. In it, I discuss Nia King's interviews with queer & trans artists of color.

In more news about things other people have written, I had the honor in June of being asked to hold a public conversation with Brian Boyles, author of New Orleans Boom and Blackout, this year's One Book New Orleans selection. Boyles' book is a superb primer on late 20th- & early 21st-century New Orleans political history, identifying & tracing historical origins of the currents swirling though contemporary New Orleans; I recommend it to anyone interested in how the civic sausage gets made.


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Brown Study

the altarTo achieve the state of deep focus in which I do the writing that means the most to me, I have found I need a physical space separate from that space in which I "live" or anyway sleep-- a space, no matter how modest, dank or sweltering, that's dedicated only to my writing. Callooh, callay: I have one again. It's a little room I call The Brown Study, in a friend's basement the merest mile-and-a-half from my house. It underwent renovations the last several months, temporarily evicting me, but now it's back and I'm back in it.

I'm a princess, but not a prima donna; most things I can write as necessary under almost any circumstances. The exception is fiction. When it comes to my novels, I only seem able to get where I want to go via long sojourns in deep focus. Quidditatively, deep focus is very similar to the depths of depression, with the important difference that in one state I do the only thing I ever do of any positive value, and in the other I pray to die. In both, I "feel" myself emptied of nearly all consciousness; I visit interior abysses unfamiliar enough to seem ontologically external, and as with a napkin touching water, what those deep wells contain absorbs up into me and saturates me. The hollowness where self might more healthily reside becomes a vessel or conduit for this other, be it a story about people doing things or the roaring void of unlife. It is exhaustingly intense.

Laying this out, the mode I describe strikes me as hokey-- the "muse moves me" school of creative process-- but it really is how my best writing emerges. When I'm out of practice with serious writing, I use various combinations of drugs to pry open the trapdoors and silence the interior peanut gallery, but when I'm in a good creative run, the process of descent to deep focus becomes more routine; rather than taking pills to dull the distracting parts of my consciousness, I just play loud music on my headphones.

erin-wilson_mutton-bustingThe output from these sustained spells of deep focus is so important to me that I ascribe supernatural significance to the production. Ritual brings into existence something I uncomprehendingly revere: it's sorcery. I burn incense, I light a special candle, I pull the curtains against the cheerful sun. There are parts of me that laugh at this, but if taking my writing seriously is what doing the writing I care most about requires, then it's a price I will pay without complaint.

I visited the childhood pain trough to bring back a brimming bucket of encomium for Macho Man Randy Savage, which appeared in Vice's online iteration, as did my more recent reportback on the Houston Rodeo. The former piece was illustrated by my longtime visual collaborator Ben Passmore, the latter by my marvelous comrade Erin Katherine Wilson.

The Gambit's blog ran a few of my interviews: with a zinester who wrote about Palestine, a filmmaker who documented the daily lives of North Louisiana born-agains, a tree-sit protestor trying to save New Orleans parkland from becoming golf course, and a pair of dudes who opened an undaground record store Uptown. A look at the pieces' respective Facebook "shares" -- 55 : 88 : 730 : 1877 -- makes clear which of these subjects the readership find more compelling, but I urge you to reach your own conclusions.

otto-splotch-carnivalI also did some writing for Antigravity I'm quite proud of. First, my off-kilter attempt at food writing, a roundup of lesser-known suburban eateries for which I let my prose run even more playfully purple than usual. Secondly, a piece on the emerging cybernetic era of New Orleans Carnival, which draws on a lot of sources to make a historical and philosophical argument about how evolving Mardi Gras ritual expresses different constitutions of power. Thirdly, I spoke with three dynamic young women involved in local protests against police murdering people of color. There are a bunch of what I consider provocative ideas in those last two pieces; the first seeks mostly to entertain.

In service to my undimmed fanaticism for professional wrestling, I wrote an in-depth essay on the phenomenon of "heel heat" in rasslin's big league & indies for the twelfth issue of Classical Magazine, bolstered by lots of anecdote, including the time I got kicked out of the New Orleans Arena. My fave tag-team partner "Big" Benny Passmore drew a bunch of jerkface bad-guy wrestlers to go with this passionate polemic.


Now that I have a space in which to tackle a novel, I may excrete less of the shorter sort of writing, although one does need money, and this non-fiction shit does pay...

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A Tramp Abroad

boys will be boys My big news of the last several weeks was a trip I took overseas-- crossing an ocean, flying in an airplane, all of it. I presented a paper at the first ever Anna Kavan Symposium in London, applying my cocktail-conversation-caliber post-structuralist feminist analysis to a few of Kavan's books.

I don't leave the Gulf Coast often, and anticipating the journey I felt, if not precisely a worry, at least a strong sense of possibility that removed from the familiar context of New Orleans I would completely unravel, either in the psychological sense or in a more excitingly literal, special-effects-laden way, like stripping the mummy wrappings off the invisible man. We all define ourselves relative to externals, and at this point most of my own sense of self is so tightly conjugated with the city I love-- the place that is a religion to me-- that it wasn't clear how well I'd be able to function at a cultural and continental remove.

My worries were unfounded; the symposium was a terrific experience, and people were very kind to me. I made some new friends, and thanks to their kindness was able to visit a nice slice of Northern Europe. I found Brussels and Amsterdam convivial, though being surrounded by bicyclists who obey traffic laws is something I could never get used to. I wandered the cobblestone streets, did the good drugs, and found that what I'd considered a dangerously tenuous "self," the me that is me, persisted in those distant climes at least as reliably as it does here in South Louisiana.

Among many highlights was visiting the British Library and, despite being an under-laundered foreign pleb, being given access to a rare Kavan manuscript in their magnificent reading room-- the same reading room (institutionally, if not geographically) where Marian Yule toiled in Gissing's New Grub Street. And there I sat at a nice hardwood table, being treated like a legit researcher! I tend to bullshit my way around life as if I'm due everything, but it's merely pragmatic; the tactic doesn't correspond to an actual belief. Whatever my other delusions, I enjoy a reasonably clear sense of my social position-- marginal, penniless, largely self-educated, published only because a few key people find me amusing-- so being shown such hospitality by the staff of the Library was powerfully and unforgettably legitimizing.

Now to the more careerist updates. My unhealthy obsession with local politics led me to compile a voting guide for the November elections, as well as a website for it and other anti-establishment guides. I had the pleasure of passing an afternoon with two marvelous writers, one a longtime heroine of mine, one a new acquaintance, and conducting an interview with the former for the Gambit's blog. More recently, I managed to cover a lot of occupied ground in what was ostensibly coverage of the first annual New Orleans Comics and Zine Festival.

jules-bentley-ben-passmore-halloween-377x402I've reviewed a couple more books for the Brooklyn Paper-- a novel about artists in Paris and a really high-grade bunch of short stories by Hester Kaplan.

I also did a piece about Halloween for Antigravity that got decent traction, including a discussion on local TV news (WGNO's "News with a Twist"). I wish video of it was available!

...finally, how could I have forgotten this? Late in the summer, Jules Bentley made his debut as a boldfaced name in the Times-Picayune's formerly exclusive society pages. This is fun because the Times-Pic's society section is traditionally for these kinds of exquisite occasions. The event I attended was bereft of "a plume-orb encrusted with twinkle lights hanging above piles of shrimp, stone crab claws and gravlax," (seriously, go read that article if you haven't-- it's among my all-time favorite pieces of New Orleans journalism) but did have great DJs, good barbecue and my wonderful niece.

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Cover Boy

I am giddily delighted to present the "official" "launch" of the website for my novel Fuck or Swim. As with most even moderately successful things I produce, it also reflects selfless contributions from some of this city's shiny starz-- marverlous visualz by artists Erin Wilson & Ben Passmore and an in-depth Q&A by the author Michael Patrick Welch.

Fuck or Swim is a hell of a good book. If you're a publisher or an agent, holler at me:

I've recently published a couple more book reviews for the Brooklyn Paper-- of a sex thriller and an esoteric philosophical treatise.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of seeing a piece of my writing become the cover story for an issue of Gambit Magazine. I didn't think positing that sobriety is a challenge and New Orleans is a drinking town would attract so much argument, but jeez, what a firestorm ensued. Gambit blogged and published multiple follow-ups to give vent to some of the dissenting opinions.

There were whispers-- murmurs, even-- that my piece as published didn't give due weight to sobriety's many positives. I will admit, my writing rarely succeeds in equally arguing all sides of an issue. Especially with bigger, broader topics, my own considerable circumference and the vehemence with which I argue generally constrain me to visiting at most two or three sides of an issue before I have to sit down and drink a soda.

I don't consider myself a controversialist or contrarian, but on the sides of an issue where the sun shines brightest, the glare hurts my weak eyes, and the crowds of sun-baskers who sometimes gather there render me socially anxious. I'm more comfortable on the shadier, less crowded facets of an argument, those cool, relatively quiet expanses where I can let my hyperbole wander off-leash and there's enough space to stretch my often painful analogies.

Make no mistake: there are very good things about being sober.

The statistics tell me I have some readers outside of New Orleans. That being the case, let me provide them-- you? -- with context. This city's former, soon-to-be-incarcerated Mayor Ray Nagin often accused those investigating or calling attention to his shenanigans of "hurting the recovery," meaning the recovery of New Orleans from the failure of the federal levees.

This brings us to what is surely the greatest gift of sobriety: anyone who criticizes me or anything I do-- shit, anyone who disagrees with me or denies me something I want-- can be accused of hurting the recovery, i.e. imperiling my sobriety. It's a beautiful golden trump that I find is only burnished brighter each time it's played. After all, what kind of monster would knowingly cause someone's relapse into problem drinking? My god... even if you don't care about me personally, please think about the numberless innocents who'll be imperiled by the wild orgy of destruction YOU will cause if you dare to challenge my ideas or conduct in even the smallest way.

This awesome cudgel-- this gleaming bejewelled scepter of piety I now wield-- is, though the chiefest, only one among sobriety's many positive aspects. And, although I still often experience sobriety as being tied down, naked and helpless as Prometheus upon the rock, while winged raptors embodying "the reasons I started drinking in the first place" flap down and rip my hot, miserable guts out day after day, humans are creatures of habit, and one does gradually become accustomed to not drinking. After a while your sobriety gains its own momentum. It begins to seem separate from you, something abstract and exterior. In a world of compromises and near-enough, sobriety's absoluteness and perfection, its flawless, gold-star quality, make it seem supernatural. Every moment I don't drink accumulates in my wake, joining the others in an ever-expanding reef.

On a good day, this exteriorized version of sobriety looms like a deepening sand-storm, filling the sky behind me. Its majestic heft is intimidating, and fear keeps me scuttling along, fleeing my shadow. It feels like if I stumble, this sandy, floating sky-castle built of empty, dry days and weeks will overtake and collapse atop me, drowning me in a mountain of dust.

On a bad day, the accumulation of sobriety seems like a delicate burden, an ever-weightier conglomeration of crystal borne on my back. Its immensity and fragility, the reverence demanded by this brittle, glittering non-achievement-- this somber, interest-compounding crystal cathedral built around a virtue of omission-- all make it perversely tempting to chuck a brick through.

But enough on that. Please go read the first thirty-or-so pages of Fuck or Swim!

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Perthonal Growth

Coming soon-- the website for my novel Fuck or Swim, with exquisite art by Erin Wilson...

Coming soon-- the website for my novel Fuck or Swim, with exquisite art by Erin Wilson...

Sobriety changes you. It's true-- peering through clearer eyes, I've become someone with a better understanding of what's possible and reasonable. When I consider my dreams and goals, I see, if not precisely a maturity, a refinement-- a grounding.

I used to wish I could wake up a teenage surfer girl in Hawaii, more or less exactly as seen in the 2002 film Blue Crush. At some level I knew the lifestyle that movie depicted -- look amazing in a bikini while subsisting on junk food, live in bohemian communalism with my sexy friends, date a quarterback, surf all day and party all night -- wasn't quote-unquote real, but it was what I wanted for my life.

Now, twelve years after my first revelatory viewing of Blue Crush and closing in on five years sober, that PG-13 surfer-girl daydream, while losing none of its luster, has perhaps rotated a little ways in the Lazy Susan of my mind's eye. Newer, more serious and rational desires are to the fore. I would certainly be delighted to wake up a beautiful surfer girl, but there's a more pragmatic, realistic side of me that instead aspires to wake up a teenage Vietnamese-American gangster kid on the Mississippi's Westbank. I'd have gelled-up nineteen-fifties hair, a scooter, and a tight long-sleeved shirt even in hot weather. My hoodlum friends and I would buzz around the coffeeshops of Gretna and Harvey, reading magazines about car stereo systems and scowling when our Aunties repeatedly called our cellphones.

I'm not saying that aspiring to be a teenage Asian-American hoodlum is a superior or "better" goal than aspiring to be a teenage surfer girl, but I do feel my recalibrated aspirations represent a more hardheaded, veridical outlook that I credit in large part to my long years of abstaining from alcohol.

Meanwhile, what have I been up to? I remain proud of the writing I did for the Gambit on Wrestlemania, particularly this piece on the Undertaker's stunning loss.

I had the rewarding experience of being invited onto the Ringside Review podcast for an interview. As someone more used to conducting interviews, it was novel to be the subject of one. Those interested in hearing my affected, adenoidal speaking voice can now do so on-demand.

I was also interviewed by the New Orleans Advocate alongside Gulf Coast pro wrestling ubermensch Luke Hawx for their piece on New Orleans pro wrestling and WrestleMania. I am a big Luke Hawx fan, so being quoted in the same article as him made me feel great.

The June (10th anniversary!) issue of Antigravity has a piece I wrote about pro wrestler and civil rights warrior Ernie "Big Cat" Ladd, illustrated by the extraordinary Ben Passmore. The Brooklyn Paper ran my first (and if I had my druthers, last) negative book review, as well as their idiosyncratically edited adaptation of a positive one. What else?

Oh yes!

I'm beyond excited to announce I will be attending the September 2014 Anna Kavan Symposium in London. I've been invited to present a paper there in which I endeavor to apply Judith Butler's ideas about control & subjection to Kavan's distinctive, dream-like physical geographies. Can't wait!

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