Exhibit 20.14

I Don’t Know

you can
lock me
of the bathroom
but not
your heart

1 Comment / Posted in Heart, Locks, Out

Exhibit 10.6

Voodoo Heart

I don’t even remember how I found out about Scott Snyder’s debut collection of stories, but I’m glad I picked it up. There are quite a few really great stories here and even at its lowest points it’s always interesting and well-written. Quite a success, all and all.

At the heart of most of the stories here is the central protagonist’s self-doubt which has driven them from their loved ones and stifled their advancement in life until they end up in places they hadn’t heard of until they found themselves there alone and discontent. A good number of the stories feature some kind of encounter with the grotesque (a brain-damaged country singer, a famous actress disfigured in a wreck, etc.) which work as a nice counterpoint to make the protagonist’s ennui-based melancholy seem all the more shallow.

The first story had me worried, bogged down as it was in the brand of desperately cute quirkiness that few contemporary writers are immune from (this one included). Our hero, fresh from his job of lassoing barrels filled with people who intend to go over Niagara Falls, chases after a blimp carrying his former girlfriend who, I should mention, previously worked as a fake wax figure in a wax museum. Yeah, it was a bit much, the kind of overreaching that can be palatable in a single story but deathly mawkish in a full-length collection. Characters with quirky jobs who fall in love with character with quirky jobs…I mean, jesus, I feel like there are at least two stories doing that in every journal I read (sometimes written, poorly, by me). Oh well. I guess I’ve already covered my thoughts on this type of work here, but mostly I wish it were a little bit less per(vasive/suasive).

See what I did there.

Anyway, more to the point, Snyder does it better than most, but he’s even better when he lets something else drive his fiction. The best stories here, including the title story, my favorite, manage to be original without veering into the emotional vacuum of pure oddity. The compelling strangeness of these stories comes from the way they explore the fringes of American geography and history with characters realistically shaped by their backwoods environment. It makes for a cohesive collection of work even though individual stories are separated by hundreds of years and thousands of miles.

Comment / Posted in Books, Fiction, Heart

Exhibit 2.13

I’m not sure if you’ve spent enough time studying that Susan Sarandon drawing yet. If you stare at it long enough you’ll see your future.

Comment / Posted in Fear, Future, Heart

Exhibit 2.6

So I might have had another fantasy football draft last night. You know, I could be reading poetry if anyone would recommend a book, but instead I’m getting pulled deeper into the depravity and moral decay that is fantasy football. This, my second and final team, came off about as well as my last:

If Mandy Patinkin Was a Fantasy Football Team

First Round – Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco. Why Frank Gore dropped to the ninth pick, I’ll never know. Ecstatic doesn’t begin to describe how I felt about it. I didn’t even let myself believe he might drop to me, I just waited out pick after pick until the guy before me took Rudi Johnson (Rudi Johnson!). I meekly said Gore’s name, expecting someone to tell me that Gore had been in a car accident or was attacked by Joey Porter’s dogs. As far as I know, he’s still alive. Now Rudi Johnson on the other hand…

Second Round – Willis McGahee, RB, Baltimore. Who cares if I hated him on my team last year, he’s in Baltimore now and if Jamal Lewis and his ankle bracelet can rush for 1,000 yards there than surely Willis can get 1,200. Good value at 16 too.

Third Round – Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis. I don’t care what anyone says, he’s going to be better than Marvin Harrison one of these years. Here’s hoping it’s this one.

Fourth Round – Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego. I’ve never had him on my team before, and though there were higher guys on my board, they were all RBs and QBs that I didn’t have any faith in (like, say, Matt Hasselbeck). Another good value pick. It’s always nice to lock up the class of a position, and I’m essentially considering him a 4th WR.

Fifth Round – Randy Moss, WR, New England. A boom or bust pick, but another great value in my opinion. I mean, Chris Chambers was taken ahead of him. I love Chris, but I’ll take my chances with my man, Randy, thanks.

Sixth Round – Jamal Lewis, RB, Cleveland. Never mind that I just made a joke about him. He had no business being available at this pick considering he starts on a team without any other RBs to steal carries from him. Sure, he pretty much runs with a limp, has a bad attitude, and I hated him on my team last year, but I’ll take him as a backup over some of the scrubs that were getting selected before him.

Seventh Round – Jerious Norwood, RB, Atlanta. And here’s where the draft goes downhill for awhile. I tried to pick a QB here, but somehow forgot to cross Jay Cutler off my sheet, leading to me selecting him after he was gone (a total faux pas). In my panic, I just grabbed the highest guy left on my board, Mr. Norwood, who I later learned has some kind of mysterious stomach ailment. As my 4th RB, it’s no big deal, but I probably should have gone WR or QB here rather than take value. For good and bad, the next best QB on my list was still available the next round…

Eighth Round – Eli Manning, QB, NYG. Did you know Eli has thrown for 24 touchdown passes the past two years? Did you know the Giants have a new offensive coordinator and will pass more without Tiki? Did you know Manning has looked great in the preseason? Um, yeah, it doesn’t matter. Totally the weak link on my team, even if he does end up in the top 10 QBs (which he probably will).

Ninth Round – Santonio Holmes, WR, Pittsburgh. I’m predicting big things this year. Another boom or bust guy, but the WRs on my bench behind him are possession guys, so if he falters I’ll at least have some consistency to plug in. Maybe.

Tenth Round – Ladell Betts, RB, Washington. Ah, me and LaDell Betts. Good times. I’m glad we’re back together. (By the way, someone took Clinton Portis–who starts ahead of LaDell–early in the second round and then refused to take LaDell for some reason, which is where I stepped in to end his freefall. Instead the owner went with guys like Brandon Marshall and Anthony Thomas. Um, LaDell Betts is going to end the season with more points than Portis. He just is. We all know it. Even if not, why wouldn’t you take him ahead of Anthony Thomas who is the backup RB on a different team?)

Rounds 11-15 – Ronald Curry, WR; Marty Booker, WR; Jaguars D; Jason Campbell, QB; Josh Brown, K.

So my team is:

QB – Eli Manning
RB – Frank Gore

RB – Willis McGahee

WR – Reggie Wayne

WR – Randy Moss

WR – Santonio Holmes

TE – Antonio Gates

K – Josh Brown

Def – Jacksonville

BN – Jamal Lewis, Jerious Norwood, Ladell Betts, Ronald Curry, Marty Booker, and Jason Campbell.

My QBs are the weak link, and no matter how many things I read about Eli Manning actually being underrated for fantasy, I still don’t feel good about it. Even though personalities don’t matter here, I still can’t help but think his wooden smirk is going to derail my team somehow.

Still, ‘If Mandy Patinkin Was a Fantasy Football Team’ actually turned out pretty great. I don’t think my team is the presumptive favorite, but it’s definitely playoff caliber. Hopefully I can trade Ladell Betts for a heart to give Eli Manning.

3 Comments / Posted in Heart, Mandy Patinkin, Sports