Monday, September 30, 2013


Evidently the call from the Indian gentleman pretending to be from Microsoft was a scam. I lost $650. Somebody who read my blog informed me, and the websites he sent me to exactly reproduced what happened. It was very convincing. I knew about 49% that it was a scam, but their confidence--and the fact that my computer has been running poorly-- gave them that little bit of edge. How did they have so much information about my computer without-- oh, never mind. What's done's done.

September 30, 2013

Windows open last night, one of summer’s late hurrahs. Complicated dreams of philosophy. I had developed a magnificent one, related somehow to string theory, which made sense in the dream but, at morning, leaves not a wrack behind.

Arrived late for Cantaria, while they were singing their Pride medley. The sound was thrilling, magnificent. Accuracy was not their long suit, but it needn’t be in the County Plaza.

Oddly beneficent all day, as if the Invisible Adversary and I were at peace. It’s far better. I’d live that way if I could.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

September 29, 2013

Saturday was another entry in the log of heroic gardening. I intended to finish and winterize the Phil Mechanic garden, but in order to do so I had to find some way around the half marathon which seemed miraculously to block every street on this end of the city. One cop told me to try the Craven Street Bridge, and when I was blocked there I uttered a resounding profanity, and the other cop  waved me through. probably thinking I’d be a menace to society otherwise. Bought mulch at Southern States, where the handsome redneck helping me load and I had the following exchange.
Me: God, there’s stink bugs even between the bags of mulch.
Him: Yep. They’ll cover you up.

Planted alternating pink and purple iris, and a couple of radiant peonies, mulched thick. Only one plant, a peony, was lost from the spring planting, which I think was remarkable.

Came home and emptied the shipping boxes by digging a new beds for, mainly, iris. The soil was gratifyingly workable. I must have annihilated the vines earlier.

Lunch with Jon and Dalton, in for a day in the city. We laughed long and loud. Craggy faced guy got the deck about half done. Taking some divided orange iris to Mike Stevenson. Will need to spend the morning reading comp exams, a colleague’s confusion having thrown us into panic mode.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

September 28, 2013

In my dream there was a further testament of Judaism which came after the Christian testament. On one of the holy days of Judaism, certain passages from the New Testament, which were deemed to be precursor of the new Jewish vision, had to be read in order at various point around Central Park. I was given the honor of reading one of these passages, something from Acts. I was very excited. At the end of the dream we were coordinating our watches so the passage could be read at exactly the right moment.

Turns out I’m receiving royalties from the electronic version of A Childhood in the Milky Way, but in such minuscule increments that they have not yet actually written a check.

Enormous bout of autumn gardening yesterday, wherefrom I was sore and tired in a good way, but nearly to the point of illness. Got surprisingly few things into the ground– two tree peonies, two camellias (hoping to cure my bad luck with camellias)– but did a lot of digging and toting. The flowers I mail ordered are arriving in roomy boxes, and Dublin looms.

Joseph Gordon-Leavitt has a new movie about the effects of porn on a relationship. His character’s girlfriend is also addicted, to romantic comedies (chick flicks) and I happened to think of them as two handles of the same cup (lousy image, but–) Porn demanding unrealistic sexual enthusiasm from women, Rom-coms demanding an unrealistic cuddly and chocolate-bringing responses from men. They are both a kind of porn. Gay men almost never object to the unrealistic enthusiasm depicted in gay porn, because we think we might in fact react that way, given the right partner and opportunity.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 27, 2013

Woke from complicated dreams. I was trying to finish a huge mural that covered several rooms of my house, except it wasn’t my house but a large apartment high up in a building in a big city. Barry and Will had extra guests coming for some occasion, and they wanted the overflow to stay in my apartment, so I was trying to finish the mural, find room for the guests, repair the damage haste and distraction was doing to the painting, and keep the swarms of stinkbugs vacuumed up. They were worse in the dream even than they are in life. The apartment was all yellow because I was convinced that was the best base for the painting.

Bought my tickets for San Francisco. They were surprisingly cheap. . . not that I’ll get to see the city at all.

Faculty reading at UNCA,, poorly and yet sufficiently attended. Tom was there, as he was when I read at the Altamont. It’s like the old days when we were inseparable. I can’t figure out what the difference is now; the fact that I’m trying to is a little sad. Spontaneous interest in me is so rare (I think) that I stop looking for it, and probably identify it wrong when it appears.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

September 26, 2013

Mason Wilson is dead. He was a kind, good man. He was kind and good to me. Unexpectedly stricken by the news.

Late last afternoon– lay on the bed in the half-dark in what seems from this distance like comic despair. No, it doesn’t really

I work too hard, yet the goal is not reached. Whenever I teach Hinduism and Buddhism I hear their mockery from afar of a person who wears attachment around his neck like an albatross. Yet if asked the question, do I want peace or the life I want, peace loses every time. It’s not as though losing one gains the other. Nevertheless–

The two boxes of plants become for. I itch for the next hole in the schedule not arched over by driving rain..

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 25, 2013

Two boxes of bulbs and peony roots arrived yesterday: the season is on!

Watched Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter last night with more enjoyment that I was led to expect. Thought it was cleverly plotted, which does not make up for absurdity, but rubs off absurdity’s edges. Was thrilled when the movie’s meeting of Lincoln and Josh Speed was so like mine, though that relationship later went awry.

None of my accounts was drained, so the hard-laboring Indian gentlemen must have been legitimate.

Glorious days have piled atop one another, so glorious in fact that one had to hide from them a little.

The traffic slows at the hummingbird feeders.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 24, 2013

I’d sat down for the evening’s writing when the phone rang.  It was a heavily accented Indian named Paul, who told me who he was and where he was from (I wasn’t listening) and then informed me that they had been receiving very strange signals from my computer, and who then led me through a series of operations revealing that my computer had been hacked and filled with spyware and malware and assorted plagues. He said there were 17,000 viruses. I saw what he said I was seeing, and I did know that the poor thing was slow and there were certain operations it would no longer do, and that it wouldn’t download renewals of security programs, etc. but I also had no particular reason to doubt that I was being scammed with my own fingers on the keys. But Paul seemed so confident, so certain that I would trust him, that I gave up saying, “how do I know you’re trustworthy?” and just went along with it, including the $700 fix. Paul took control of my screen and I saw him navigating his way through labyrinths within that I have never approached. Then I was ordered not to touch the computer again until this morning, an order which I obeyed. I have not checked, but, oddly, I do not expect to find my accounts emptied. Through the entire operation, I was about 49% convinced it was a bold and horrible scam to relieve me at least of $700. The protection is for seven years. I am at the age when part of the brain relaxes, realizing it could be dead by then and never have to bother again. The machine runs better than it has since the first, and I have not yet gone deeper than this page, so if there are surprises, I am innocent of them. In any case, what I had planned for creation last night went uncreated, in a day after a wasted weekend, in an evening after a moderately grueling day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Read on the radio yesterday, AshevilleFM’s Wordplay. I had a good time, and read some things that pleased me right well as I was hearing them for the first time. Read a piece of Night, Sleep, and read from The Glacier’s Daughters for the first time in many years. I perceive myself to be back inside the head I had then, so far as poetry is concerned, after decades of wandering. I’m always glad when circumstances get me to West Asheville, and puzzled that I don’t contrive to get there more often. More tattoos, though, than I want to look at. Stunning exhaustion after a stressful weekend, but with a waking timely and refreshed I face the day.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

September 22, 2013

Gleaming clear Equinox. Day and part of another day of singing in the woods, one day deluge, the other this sparkling autumn. The gray lake under gray rain was mystical. Sat late talking beside a fire overlooking the dim lake, which was rare and sweet.  The pond by the dining hall teemed with salamanders.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

September 21, 2013

Smooth glide into morning, the dark cool and silky, my mind uncharacteristically at rest. Late dreams of the Trojan War, as DJ and I had watched Helen of Troy in the evening, which we agreed was not nearly so bad as it could have been. The war melded into choir camp, wherein we were all heaped asleep on the floor, and I was trying to tell the time on a spherical clock which kept rolling away from me.

The stinkbugs had their victory, in that whatever harm the poison spray was doing to them, I got blow-back, and staggered around almost unable to walk for several hours. It can incapacitate people, if not bugs.

My brain almost annihilated by bad turn of event after bad turn event, does not know what to do with itself. This is not an altogether evil sensation. Even at this hour new things can enter.

Beautiful moonrise, pink, the moon smeared and indefinite with clouds, yet still very bright.

Oh, summer: I would keep you.

Friday, September 20, 2013

September 20, 2013

Arrived home from school to find a monster-movie invasion of stinkbugs. I set about to clear as many as I could, discovering there were not only individuals here and there, but masses behind pictures on the wall, evidently prepared there to winter over. I believe the number who found their destiny in the toilet to have neared one hundred.

Bought stinkbug spray at Ace, but a good spraying seems not to reduce their vigor in any appreciable way. Perhaps it hastens senility.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

September 19, 2013

Autumn cool. The windows are closed except for cracks. The big angel’s trumpet is six feet tall and still hasn’t flowered.

A fish died in the tank yesterday. He was very old, and age had changed his shape and color. He was white, now, with a hump like a bison. I knew over the last few days that he was going, and I felt glad that I could keep him safe enough to drift away among the plastic weeds, something that would not happen in nature.

Sang with Virginia’s choir at Saint Mary’s last night. The atmosphere there was calm, communal, mutual, adult. I’m used to an atmosphere more tense and punitive. At home I often feel like a bad child who has barely been whipped into shape; last night I felt like an adult giving a gift. The sound of V’s choir is not good, but I think that can be laid on personnel rather than technique. Simone carries the alto section into glory. A quarter century ago when I started look for a church home, I longed for it to be St. Mary’s, because it was most like the Savior back in Syracuse. But I went three Sundays in a row and no one spoke to me.

Terrible news yesterday, and I did not react well, taking to my bed like a Victorian virgin. Did get to the studio and the gym. Did transcribe café poems, fighting my own illegible scrawl.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18, 2013

Met at Handmade in America yesterday afternoon to dole out the Grassroots Grant monies. Everyone had done their homework and was reasonable. Saw Julie Becton after a long time. Brent spoke lovingly of his new dog. The rep from the State Council was the sort of woman I like, and choose for a friend, but also very definite about certain things. Both she and the rep from last year fought very hard for money for the AAAC. Last year we flatly refused (I’m sure the money was restored by fiat) and this year it came in dead last of all the things we wanted to fund. There are a lot of arts organizations doing a lot of good in the area. There are some pretty wacky, too. I would never myself apply for such a grant, because I have seen how punctilious everyone is about records, and my record-keeping has ever been cavalier.

Fighting a chest cold– a novelty for me. Took Nyquil Monday night, and staggered through my Tuesday classes half asleep. I don’t recall quite that effect.

Elaborate dreams. My sister and Jason and I went to see a movie production of The Tempest at the Goodyear Theater in Akron. It was gawdawful terrible, and we joined the throng leaving after half an hour or so, and I gloatingly recalled that, through some glitch, I had not yet paid for the tickets, and now never would. Out on the street, we could see both Oxford and the waterfront of Philadelphia, and I wanted to show Jason both of them. Linda had formed a crush on Jason and wanted to go home with him, and I teased her by always finding some new sight to point out and explain.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

September 17, 2013

Heron on the neighbors’ roof yesterday, displaying his long self long enough for photos. I wanted him on my roof, but then I would have the blessing without knowledge of it.

Well over $100 was taken from my wallet, which lay in my jacket in my office while I taught. The odd thing is that they left a $5 bill behind. Thieves with scruples.

I’m featured poet for the Month at the Altamont, where I read to an interesting crowd last night. My achievement was to st through the whole of the open mic that came after. TD attended, as did several of my students. The event was damaged by a disrespectful chatterbox whose name seems to be Locky. The only quite silent moment was when she was reading her poem. Some poets (and I was one of these upon a time) proceed by thinking of striking metaphors for normal things, and stringing them together like beads on a wire. The discovery, then, is not of some truth or further country, but of what the poet meant by the inventive trope. There are worse way of writing than this. Certainly there are better. I fear it’s what we actually teach (at least by implication) in our workshops. Cleverness is far easier to teach than inspiration.

Exhausted now because sleepless last night. Hungry, I ate a chunk of Spam before leaving the house, and was sick immediately, and so sick through the day that I ate nothing else. Still my stomach was a cauldron of acids, spilling over at every decline from the vertical. Have a cold at the same time. And remarkable diarrhea.  Probably afflictions that I do not remember. No Spam for me, ever.

I will let the heron stand for everything, and call it good.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

September 15, 2013

A quick glance is usually sufficient, though in the last few days the failure to scrutinize carefully has caused me a lot of work. Reprinting a manuscript now that was not prepared according to instructions. Cancelled one reservation and got another for New York, as I had the wrong meeting day in mind, trading an elegant and streamlined schedule for a protracted and laborious one.

Twice at the studio yesterday. Left the first time because I was exhausted. Left the second time because my neighbor was pounding an old table to pieces with a hammer. The a-rhythmic bangs could not long be endured.

Bought a bar from Mary Alice on her moving day. I thought I was helping a troubled lady, but it turns out the bar was exactly what I needed, an appropriate altar to the place of alcohol in my life.

Looking wearily toward church. People feel things slipping and dig in with their fingers, frantically trying to hold tighter. This is always a mistake.

I realize I never seek to talk problems or emotions out, and feel uncomfortable (and ambushed) on those occasions when it appears to be required. That’s what art is for.

Wondrous, almost unnatural silence outside my window. Even the breathing of the cat is loud beside it.

The manuscript I had to redo was Me with a White Rose in My Hand.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 14, 2013

Voyaged out in the perfect late summer light to visit a couple of wineries eastward, near Lake James. One of the wineries had personable staff, excellent, inexpensive wines, and tiny, friendly dogs. The other had a woman who kept checking her cell phone, bitter, expensive wines, but a terrace upon which you could sit under the trees and suck in the blue air. Unfortunately, the second vineyards also squawked with the recorded sounds of distressed, hawk-harried birds to keep the grapes from being eaten, so perfect peace was never quite achieved. Bought more wine than I think I’ll ever drink. In the evening we went with Jack and Leland to see an excellent production of Deathtrap at Flat Rock. I had seen the play in Baltimore in 1973, and remembered there were twists, but I had forgotten what the twists were. Linda was anxious the while because Daniel has a 100% record of getting into mischief when left alone.  She’s back to Atlanta now before the sun is risen.

Saw Charlotte and Cynthia at the theater, whom I’d not seen in years. Charlotte now counts cerulean warblers on the Parkway. Saw David and Julie and Maria and Russell, whom I’d not seen since Wednesday night.

Friday, September 13, 2013

September 13, 2013

Linda up fro a visit. Saw the Percy Jackson move (one thinks constantly “I can do better than that.”) and drank into the hard rains of the night. All roads lead to my getting one of those phones that can launch missiles and access the Library of Congress. Everyone else has them. I grow strange being amid my own thoughts all the time.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

September 12, 2013

I should tire of opening entries with “Dark, silent,” but that is what this time before morning is, and I cherish it.  Yesterday morning I wrote at the computer, went to the Y and had one of the best weight sessions ever, went to Starbucks and wrote a poem on the terrace with the traffic passing, and it was still dark, then painted at the studio, then came back and scrubbed down DJ’s terrace for restoration, and it was not yet noon. I have a whole day before many are fully awake. Had a massage from Zach, and a curious thing happened. The toxins from the phlebitis must have been lodged in my body, and when he massaged me they were released, and I was sick and feverish throughout most of the afternoon. It ebbed away, but I was still too spent for drinks after choir, as is the usual.

Circe makes tiny contentment noises jammed up against the keyboard beside me. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

September 11, 2013

Inarticulate with rage after hearing the same lecture-verbatim-- the eight or ninth year in a row. The lecture is idiosyncratic, in addition, and class discussion must fill in its holes and lacunae like a slowly rising tide. Literally inarticulate– sounded like an ass in the faculty meeting afterward.

Downtown last night for a meeting at Apothecary. Crossing Pack Plaza I saw a hummingbird moth– the second in a month, doubling my lifetime sightings of that lovely creature. Crossing Pack Plaza under the quarter moon, also encountered Colin on his bike. He looked almost literally like an angel, except for the cast on his foot. He returns here with his pockets full from marijuana farming in California. It was a joy to see him. He says the marijuana farmers voted against legalization because an illegal product fetches a higher price than a legal one. “That’s what happens to old hippies,” he said, “they go corporate.”

The Apothecary boys and I still look for a new site. One is open on Lexington. My heart sank when I heard the details, though I can’t say exactly why. My colleagues in this enterprise–whom I love–differ from me in ways I can’t always articulate. Part of it is the idea-- widespread though not universal among them– that there are no standards but preference. They also do not think of art as a made thing, but rather as a sort of loose plan for doing something artistic. Pertinent to performance space, they take very little account of the audience, and a great measure of account of the performers. Each meeting I feel like I have to push back some idea for furniture or structures that would be “cool” but further restrict the audience’s size and comfort. One observed last night that the new space would be more cramped and aggressively in-your-face, and how wonderful that was going to be. In most things, though, they are far more attentive and dutiful than I. They are all fiercely knowledgeable about acoustics, and rattle off the euphonious names of bands I never have heard of, and likely never will again. It is an unexpected pleasure to be around them.

Hired a student to waterseal DJ’s deck.

Had an excellent early morning at the studio, which I hope will set the tone for the remainder of the day.

Sat at Starbucks before the sun was up and wrote a poem.

Of course I remember where I was and what I was doing twelve years ago today.

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 8, 2013

Rose early, put together a book of poems in forms.

Excellent work at the studio before anyone else was abroad.

Received my certificate and my little check for The Falls of Wyona’s having won second place on The Blotter Magazine’s Laine Cunningham Novel Award, and that not even the rewritten version. I think first place was publication within their magazine, which would not have been a good thing.

Cantaria excellent. I insulated myself from irritation on all sides. That is the key. Bison burgers at Avenue M.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September 7, 2013

Burnished evening. Phlebitis came on me in a flash. I think I caught it. I have to do something about that medication, but it seems to have pushed it off for now. Not much discomfort, not even that much sleepiness. Revised poems in the dark early, and, as I said I might, went in the gray early to the studio and had an excellent session. I was leaving as the tourists trickled in. Need to bring a camera. Quite excellent. Napped, and woke from the nap remembering at least three thing the forgetting of which had racked my brain. Britten on Spotify.
September 6, 2013

Woke from odd dreams with a sense of well-being as unaccountable as the turbulence of other mornings. I’m distressed that school exhausts me so that I don’t have the full value I imagined from my time off. I’ve always been a hoarder and protector of my own time. But I’m also a sensational nap-taker, and it would be a shame to let that talent languish out of a sense of shame. The dream I mentioned involved a little girl, an heiress,  whom certain prosecutors believed to have been abused. There was no proof, and the little girl denied it, but they kept pursuing her and restricting her life, hoping to catch someone at some point obscuring the evidence they were sure existed. I’m not sure who I was in the story; I think a sort of guardian who was implicated in the crime and mistrusted by the prosecutors. A field of deep grass had something to do with it, and paintings kept in a vault until the prosecutors released money that belonged to the little girl, when she could redeem or buy them.  I wandered through the vault admiring the paintings, which were mostly trompe d’oeil of tree trunks. Beautiful tree trunks, which I was identifying in the dream. Whatever else was going on, the dream filled me with the desire to go to the studio and paint, which I may do before the sun comes up.

Friday, September 6, 2013

September 5, 2013

Unexpected lunch with Dalton. You resent the interruption, but then are glad for it. Elfin sunshine. In the evening I was not looking forward to the first meeting of the Eagle Street Playwrights, but it turned out to be a joyous and productive time. Even unpromising lines of discussion led, eventually, somewhere. We pretended to wish some women had come. Drinks afterwards at Pack Tavern.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September 4, 2013

Listened to Bach last night and culled poems. The cull amounted to about twenty five individual poems and four aborted (or at least never published) books. It’s been a while since I’ve taken the shears to the branches with that intensity. In a corner of my imagination a disciple hurries to make copies of the lines I’m about to throw away, to preserve them for posterity, though of course there is no such person. My poems fail typically when they attempt to be either mindlessly ecstatic or cleverly analytic. I should recognize that by now and save myself the wasted energy.

Meeting at school about what most meetings at school are about, assessment. It’s almost humorous to watch intelligent people address themselves  to ludicrous mandates. Sometimes we faithfully look for ways to comply. Sometimes we slump forward in our seats and wait for it all to go away. Swift would love it. He’d add a new chapter onto Gulliver in which some imaginary wasteful kingdom devises a system of accountability based solely on numbers the very stupidest of them can absorb without ambiguity. The kingdom then stops what’s it’s doing and does only those thing reducible to uniform numerics. Poems are judged by how many lines are in them, and how many more than the last poem by the same author. Paintings are calculated by the square inch. Lovers must count the number of caresses and devise a way of objectifying the quality of those caresses. The Powers that Be among us dare not mandate exactly this, but that is what, in their heart of hearts, they long for. If only the whole academic process were a multiple choice exam that could be graded by a machine! Then it would be perfect.

There’s a new class you can take that addresses itself to success in other classes. I’d never heard of it, but students in that class bring forms in for me to sign, wherein they record advice I have to give them on academic dilemmas such, “Have a Hard Time Budgeting My Time” or “Too Easily Distracted” or “Have to Force Myself to Study Material I Don’t Want to Learn.” I’m not making the last one up. An angry-faced blond boy slid that in front of me. I said “What material do you want to learn?” He said, in all caps, “I CAME HERE TO MAJOR IN PSYCHOLOGY.” So much needed to be said I had no idea where to start, so I wrote in the advice box, “Keep an open mind.”

Inexplicable exhaustion.

Birthday call from All Souls. Sweet.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September 3, 2013

Early morning rain.

Set my $1000 new glasses on the shelf and went back to the old ones. At least something is in focus now.

Irritated by a guy calling from Charlotte wanting to install a security system, I accessed the call-blocking feature on my phone. So I thought. Turns out that it was a service that shuts out all callers BUT the ones I’ve selected, so for several weeks now anyone who called me got a “You are not on the list” message. I didn’t notice because almost no one calls me anyway. But I think of the hundred inquiries I set out, and the response or two which might have come by now except for my gesture of grand isolation.

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

Birthday night: Cantaria, and then too many drinks at Avenue M. M couldn’t sit beside P because P smelt of cigarette smoke. M became talkily indignant because C talks all the time. P does smell of smoke and C does talk all the time, but I didn’t know what I could do about it. A smelly singer an octave off in one ear, a septuagenarian a third or a fifth or a what-have-you off in the other. I am not strong enough. The church lawn was thronged with strangers, so I couldn’t bellow GODDAMMIT all the way to the car.

Sufficient number of Facebook greetings to content me. Rain on my drooping transplants.

DJ says that when J’s dogs get loose they make a bee-line to poop in my yard. He suggests I take this as a gesture of approval.

Moment of serene beauty: I went to the mailbox just before dawn. Spires of red and blue and purple morning glory twine up from the street. A hummingbird moth was visiting the morning glories, just visible against the dark gray sky. In the clear above the moth, a bat flapped one side of the yard to another. The night insects sang all around. I stood there a long time with the disappointing mail in my hand. It was so beautiful I wanted it to last forever. It was so beautiful I needed to move on before something fell or faded.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September 1, 2013

Early, the night crickety but otherwise silent. It’s my birthday and I try to think of everything as portentous, either summarizing or prophetic. I hurry to my Facebook page to see how many birthday greetings I’ve gotten, and from whom.

Interesting muscle cramps after yesterday’s garden exertions.

So much energy has gone into understanding my life in the last few years that I do, to some degree, to a degree unknowable until I understand it better. Understanding doesn’t lead to happiness, I suppose, but it does lead to a more simplified confusion.
         here follows material which must not be blogged. . .

Two students want me to help them with senior papers on books I have not read. For tall Max I’m reading Ron Rash’s The World Made Straight. It is both good and not. I think of Toni Morrison’s last book and compare it to Rash, and realize one of the styles of the time is to write of horrible people at the bottom edge, so debased that the least human gesture may be taken as a moral victory. Once the formula is down, it's the easiest thing in the world to write, building not very far because you started at nothing, making no useful discovery because your character has three hundred pages to get to the level of human. It’s a variety of science fiction: put people in a ghetto or a swamp with everything human taken away, and see what happens.  We cheer when they arrive at the point we passed at thirteen. For chesty Ryan I’m reading Vonnegut’s Mother Night. That’s another thing altogether; I’m not deep enough in to figure out what. I have always liked Vonnegut.