Still thinking…

August 31, 2009

…about walking on sidewalks, actually, after randomly chatting about it with a good pal earlier tonight. Personally, I usually assign a rhythm to it–the crack is a snare beat, the normal blank pavement is a bass beat, and I walk in a certain pace in order to make some kind of beat. This also happens a lot when I’m listening to music with headphones while walking, including how when I jump up on a ledge I try to time it according to a downbeat in the song. Otherwise, I usually just walk in a straight rhythm (almost always, really) and tend to jump from crack to crack a lot.

So! How do you walk? Any strange habits?

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(This is a continuation of this quick fictionstory. I’ve really enjoyed microfiction this summer, for some reason. Might also be partially due to the fact that, this being a blog, it work a little better as far as short installments go. But yeah, here’s part two:)

“God.”

A little cliche, yeah, but it felt like the right thing to say after a performance like that. The whole thing had almost felt holy–not just in the sense that it was beautiful, utterly so, but because everyone was completely silenced by it. It felt like worship. I watched him go sit down at the bar–Damn, he’s at the end of the bar and there’s no empty seats, I thought. It wasn’t even a romantic attraction–more of a simple matter of following beauty, like I was being drawn in. My mind tried to sort out how to talk to him. I didn’t even know how his voice sounded; he hadn’t said a word during his performance. Somehow I knew it had to be mellifluous, though. It felt true. You’ve gotta understand, though: After you haven’t heard live music in a decade of working in the steel mill every day, you become a little obsessed.

I waited for a minute a ways down the bar. He was sitting there silently, like me. The bartender asked me if I wanted a drink a few times. Each offer I denied. The barkeep was about to kick me to the curb when a seat opened up next to the saxophonist. I nearly ran over there, slowing down halfway through to avoid garnering attention. I sat down, and the awkward silence began. I was too afraid to say anything. What could I say? My raspy, cigarette-smoked lungs couldn’t produce anything worthy of communicating with the tones of his tongue. After another pause, I worked up the courage to say something. What would I say? Hello? Yeah, yeah, start simple. Okay, here we go–

“I’m not much of a talker, friend.”

Raspy. Pained. Almost a growl, and at least three octaves lower than my own voice. It was like scratching a piece of gold only to find that it’s painted. Like scratching the bell of his saxophone.

(Prolly continued again soon.)

WREEEEEEEEAD!!

August 26, 2009

So there’s a sort of comic book monster theme with the book festival this year, and I’m one of two interns writing the weekly newsletter. I had the idea to include a little bio for each of the monsters our crack marketing team thought up at the end of each newsletter. This is incredibly fun because we get to get really creative and silly and think up monster noises! So, here’s the most recent bio that I wrote for “Read-an”, a play on “Rodan” of classic horror movie fame. I’m pretty proud of it! (Especially the opening sound effect.)

READ-AN
Length: 18 meters
Wingspan: 25 meters
Number of Newspaper Clippings in Wings: 3000 News Articles, 200 Advice Columns and 5000 Cartoon Strips
Mass: 1,500 Tons
Abilities: Absorbs Daily News and Local Events, Excellent Public Screeching Skills
Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice (But he likes reading newspapers the most!)
First Appearance: Decatur Book Festival (2009)
Second Favorite Awesome Labor Day Weekend Event: Dragon*Con!

WREEEEEEEAD!!! Look! In the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a superhero! No, wait, it’s… Read-an!! Run for your lives! Save the books! Save the newspapers! Weighing in at 1,500 metric tons and with wings made from abandoned paper mache school projects, printed DBF programs, and back copies of the AJC, Read-an is not only a fright to behold but also provides a rather extensive and enjoyable overview of the day’s noteworthy news. He was hatched from an egg wrapped in a wrinkled copy of the AJC that mysteriously appeared in an Atlanta newspaper stand. The stand’s owner kept the egg warm in a hot dog stand’s heater rack next door until Read-an hatched out of the egg, broke out of the heater’s glass and ungratefully grabbed a bite from a tabloid rag hanging on the stand before taking to the skies to begin his reign of biblioterror!

Beautiful Thing of the Day

August 26, 2009

Yeah, sorry, kind of a cop-out, but it’s been a long day and I have a sore throat, so I don’t especially feel like making anything tonight. But! This video is “Guerrilla Philosophy” in motion picture form, pretty much:

Man. There’s just something about moments that I love–simple moments, the kind that you remember as soon as you let yourself be aware of them. Have you picked up something from the side of the road today?

This Isn’t My Story…

August 24, 2009

…but, frankly, after hearing it earlier, I feel both the need to write it down and the feeling that I probably couldn’t do any better. From an Aikido class:

“A man was running from a lion. He stumbled and fell right over a cliff. He grabbed a weak tree branch on the way down. The ground was fifteen feet below him. Immediately, a bear noticed him hanging and started clawing at his feet from the ground as the lion swiped at him from above. Barely hanging on, he noticed a lone strawberry growing within arm’s reach on the cliffside. He reached for it and plucked it. Biting into it, he said: ‘Mmm. Delicious.’ ”

That’s it. Man. As usual, Aikido has more to teach me than I could ever possibly learn. Just so this isn’t totally out of my ball park, I wanted to note that, apparently, I’m on the first page of hits on google when you search for “I don’t even know, man”, “short philosophy poems moon”, “childhood story of man”, and “It is good to renew one’s wonder” (which redirects to my entire poetry section, not just that one poem). Wow. These searches all make me pretty damn happy, haha. (In case you’re wondering, I know this because WordPress tells me what people searched for when they searched and then clicked my blog. It’s pretty fun, although I get tons of “Swiss Chalet” traffic when people search for an image of that. Wait, if I include all of these here, isn’t it gonna maybe all direct to this page? Uh. Hm. Blogsplosion?

Perks of working for a book festival: write a post about a book whose author is coming to the festival, and then see if you can get an interview with him! Yeah, I got to interview James Hannaham for the festival, which is incredibly awesome, even though I made a total fool of myself since it was my first “real” interview and I was nervous as all hell. Still, probably worth a listen, even if you haven’t read the book. Here’s a link:

Click here!

(I really hope he doesn’t read that original booktalkin’ post. Even more embarrassing. Eek.

It was quite sudden. Mr. Totington, frankly, wasn’t at all sure what to do about the situation. For a moment he simply stood there on the sidewalk, watching people pass by. A man in a suit. A woman in a red dress. A little girl carrying a balloon. Another suited man. Instinctively he tapped his chest–there was something hooked on the left side of his suit. He looked down: It said, “MR. TOTINGTON: A RATHER STAND UP GUY.” The name, which he presumed to be his, was in blocky, straightedged letters, while the subtitle below was made to look handwritten and fancier. Keep on Readin’ on?

Just Thinking…

August 20, 2009

…about, well, walking at night. I mean, I do it a fair amount, at least when I’m not in Atlanta. The place is neither fun nor safe to walk around in at night, sadly. Though I’m not gonna complain about that more–I’ve been thinking more about random interactions between walkers at night. Considering that I have facial hair and do a lot of nightwalking, it happens a lot: I happen upon someone, either walking in front or me or past me, and there’s usually a very awkward mix of exchanged glances, words, and positioning. If they’re scared of me, they walk off to the side, or they awkwardly say hello and make eye contact for an instant and then quickly look away, as if looking at me for more than that would set off some sort of anger trigger. And when I feel worried about them being scared of me (Ain’t I a piece of work?), I try to be friendly, and often worry about overdoing it or creeping them out and then try to get out of the situation so they don’t feel weird anymore. And, best case, we say hello to each other and ask how the other’s night is going. Love it when that happens, man.

Wow! 200 words on interactions between strangers on sidewalks at night. Sorry the past couple of updates have been sorta off; I’ve had an, er, odd few days. Through the next week it’ll get a little bit more exciting, I think.

But! I’m incredibly curious. How do you guys react in this sort of a situation? What thought runs through your head? Do tell, friends.

A Sad Little Song…

August 19, 2009

…that I thought of tonight. Simple, but kind of sadly catchy, isn’t it? Apologies for the quality of the singing voice.

Click here to listen.

…because I thought I was gonna have something bigger ready by tonight, but it ended up not working out yet. Sorry! So, a couple of quick stories. First one’s fictional and based on a much crappier and unfinished short story from high school. This is more or less a beginning to it–maybe I’ll try and write more of it later this week. Too many unfinished projects, haha. Like I said earlier, I’ll try and focus on finishing/continuing stuff soon–most likely this week.

…She was like a portrait, sitting on her windowsill that night. And not a self-portrait, either–No, she was too beautiful for that, too beautiful in so many ways. Too delicate to put brush to canvas, certainly unable to understand the impact she had on every arbitrary passerby. And as Billy pondered all of this, sitting on a tree branch just past the brick wall that guarded her from the rest of the world (And rightfully so!, thought Billy), he could only stray his mind so far from her beauty. Any other thoughts were justified or proven immediately wrong by that central, utterly important quality. Was she a good person? She is beautiful. Was her family loving and supportive of her? She is beautiful. Was she happy? Beautiful. Beautiful.

That night, that one damp, mid-fall night, Billy decided he would have to wait until he grew up. Another long decade, but it would be worth it. He would grow up, many years from now, and hope all the while that she would still be there, in her brick tower’s windowsill, waiting for him. If only she was unhappy, thought Billy. Then I could rescue her.

And this one’s real and quite quick: I was walking around Brown one day last year and came upon an older woman who was standing in the middle of a sidewalk, looking around confusedly. I walked up and she briskly asked me, “Do you know where the dining hall is?”
“Oh, uh, which one?”
“I don’t know which one.”
“Well, there’s a lot of them… are you looking for someone?”
“Yes. They’re somewhere around here. I’ve been looking for an hour.”
“Er, do you need some help–”
“No, I’m fine. Thank you for your help, anyway.”
“Oh! Uh, alright. I hope it works out for you–”
“It will.”

And she marched off in the direction I came from.