#1: IF THERE IS A HEAVEN…
Happy Halloween: is it no surprise that maps show Ohio is the epicenter of Elvis, Bigfoot and UFO sightings? These things are born of landscape: when you’re in THE HEART OF IT ALL! and your horizon line is corn, corn, and more corn, well, sometimes magical thinking feels like your only means of escape…
ON A DISC DUG OUT OF DUST
Found some old animations on a disc dug out of dust:
Last night in my dreams, a brown bear broke into our log cabin. I screamed for my dad to kill it. He shot it in the guts with the old double-barreled shotgun he kept loaded in the corner. The bear slumped to the floor. I walked up to it and saw it was still breathing.
“It’s still alive!”
“Let him be.”
But I couldn’t. I walked to the corner. The gun was big and heavy in my arms. There was a shot left. I put the muzzle into the bear’s heart. The bear pleaded to me. The kick from the blast sent me across the room.
The bear was dead now, no chance of him coming back, and I began to cry–ashamed at my fear.
OLD MAN, WINTER
ATTACK OF THE ACORNS
I was walking back from the library through Cain Park when I came up on a herd of pre-schoolers running around the playground. A few teachers observed the mass from a safe distance, but a group of four little black boys had wandered from their sight and were hanging out behind the restrooms by the walking path. They couldn’t have been older than five. They were picking acorns up off the ground and throwing them at a trashcan.
They saw me coming and stopped. I smiled at them, but they didn’t smile back. Their leader stepped forward. He wore a Superman t-shirt. He picked up an acorn and launched it at me.
“Whoa! Watch it there, killer!”
He ignored me, and picked up another acorn. The other three joined in. Little acorns bounced off my arms and legs.
“Hey now! That’s not very nice!”
The attack continued. I caught a couple acorns in midair. I squeezed them in my fists. When I got close, the other three backed off, but Superman stood his ground. I thought about wringing his little neck, but I held the acorns out in my hand, and tried to give him my meanest, most threatening look, and then I let the acorns drop one by one to the asphault. He let me pass.
As I walked away, the four started laughing at me! They decided to follow and taunt me through the park. One of their friends called out from the playground. “What you chasin’ that white man for?”
The laughter followed me for a good thirty yards, and then it stopped, and I heard a voice say, “Yo, dude!”
I turned around, and it was Superman. He waved at me as if we were old friends.
I waved back.
A LITERARY MORNING
Around 10, I stopped in at Mac’s Backs, and bought the new BELIEVER BOOK OF WRITERS TALKING TO WRITERS, as well as the second issue of BCR to show the writing group tomorrow night. Suzanne had just opened and nobody was around, so we started chatting and I showed her Kenneth Koch’s work in BCR, and then she told me about this guy named Kenneth Patchen, a poet/painter who drew “picture poems.” Apparently, a guy named Larry Smith speaking at the D.A. Levy symposium at Cleveland State has written a biography about him. So, that might be something to go to this weekend. Said goodbye and drove over to Joseph-Beth and picked up the new issue of BLACK WARRIOR REVIEW to show the group.
Around 11, in the parking lot of Zagara’s, grocer of the Cleveland Heights literari, I saw Harvey Pekar half-shuffling, half-limping across the parking lot. He looked pre-occupied, so I thought better of shouting, “Yo Harv!” across the lot. I showed less restraint when Meg pointed out Dan Chaon in next lane a couple weeks ago:
ME: Mr. Chaon!
CHAON: (looks up, startled) Hi!
ME: Looking forward to your reading next month!
CHAON: Oh. (What reading?) Oh yeah, with Kelly Link.
CHAON: (Who the hell is this kid?) Well, I’ll see you there, then!
ME: You bet!
A few minutes later I heard him say to the cashier, “Oh, just trying to write. It’s pathetic.” Which made me feel less pathetic.
The celebrities kept coming: the crazy lady who feeds the pigeons behind our building was in the produce section. She smelled like Marlboros, not pigeons.
Got back home around 12, and I had an e-mail from Peter Turchi, who was nice enough to reply to an e-mail I’d sent about maps and world-building. He read a section from my thesis and gave me reading suggestions to check out: 1) Denis Wood’s THE POWER OF MAPS, where Wood argues that maps are temporal, whether they mean to or not, they map spatial relationships in time; and 2) FLATLAND by Edwin Abbott, for its take on the “space/time relationship.”
Turchi also wrote that when he spoke at the University of Greensboro some students told him that a cartography professor there was using graphic novels to talk about depicting time and space; and at the University of Iowa he met a fiction writer who builds three-dimensional models of the settings for his novels. I’m going to try to hunt down these characters.
IN BED, AT NIGHT
WHY I OWN GUNS
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