The Mind-Numbing Artifice of Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens

We went to see Sufjan Stevens. On the way there, we argued about what time the show would start. Ridiculous. So maybe it was me, not him. I’d carried my life stresses into the concert hall with me, heaved them onto my lap and let them direct the tone of my night. My son’s illness, my sore foot, the moronic argument, all making it impossible to see beauty in the home movies screening behind the performers, to celebrate the poetry in Stevens’ love songs, to be moved by the profundity of his darker lyrics. While others nodded at the words ‘we’re all going to die’, I sighed. Come on, I thought. I tugged at my dress. My dress annoyed me. Continue reading

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Marching Won’t Get Us Anywhere


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I’ve been asked to attend a protest march. Another one.

For years, and for good reasons, I marched for the rights of people, animals and communities, against governments, corporations, media barons. I handed out leaflets, held placards, linked arms, and chanted in three countries. I achieved nothing.

So, hell no, I won’t go. Continue reading

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Silence = Writing

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In answer to those of you who ask – kindly, sporadically – what’s happening when I go quiet online and in life, I’m writing a second manuscript titled Futureproof (85k and rising). Because the world can’t have too many unpublishable novels, yes?

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Writing Tag

Bee image: Sam Droege and the USGS Bee Inventory & Monitoring Lab

Australian writer and doctor Leah Kaminsky asked me to be involved in a game of online tag. Her friend Sophfronia Scott from the Vermont College of Fine Arts initiated the game. It goes like this: a tagged writer answers four questions then names another writer who answers the same four questions, names/tags another and etc. Which is fun to write. But what’s in it for you? Well, if you’re like me you enjoy learning how other people work and why they write. Maybe we’ll find some common ground…or you’ll pinch this idea and use it for your own purposes. Feel free.

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Morrison, Diaz and Oates

If you live/work/study near the New York Public Library and can attend their literary events you’re very lucky. The rest of us can enjoy them as podcasts or videos. Here are two of the best (yep, three names, two talks).

morrison_19_crop_crop_crop Continue reading

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Good Reading & Listening List #2

(Image: whplibrary.org)

Here are the best books and articles I’ve come across lately. They’re not all new; they are all interesting. If you’d read something you’d recommend, let me know. It’s good to spread the word with likeminded folk. Continue reading

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Good Reading & Listening List #1

Here are the best books, articles and podcasts I’ve come across lately. They’re not all new; they are all interesting. If you’d read or heard something you’d recommend, let me know. It’s good to spread the word with likeminded folk.

Continue reading

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Exercise as Cure

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This is not about me. I want to recommend a book called The Exercise Cure to you. But I’ll tell you this about myself so you know the perspective from which my recommendation is coming: I don’t play sport, never have. I have no interest in watching sport or following a team. Competition in general is unappealing to me. If I’m with a group of people I’d prefer to be eating, drinking or watching a movie with them.

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4 Tips for Republicans

There’s been a change of the guard in the south. Far south: Australia. And now I’m running the place I need to tell you, we’re not happy you’ve got a pack of communists up in your White House.

I’d say it’s none of my business except it is. We stand next to you lot at conferences and parties and wars. So I have to deal with your lefties, too.

Also, I won my election; you lost. I respect you too much to say that wasn’t your fault. It obviously was. And you’ve made a problem for everybody.

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Whose Home is it Anyway?

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A tree fell on our house while we were away, camping. We three, in a tent, near a glassy lake, at the top of a diminutive mountain, five hours from the city. Our dreadlocked dog sitter – who, by choice, has no fixed address, lives to dance – and two yippy dogs, in a car on our street setting off for the park watching as the enormous tree creaked, groaned, leaned towards our house, rested on the roof. The tree’s roots – some thicker than a human torso – lifted the concrete footpath so high the slabs’ ends pointed to the sky, lifted our fence – palings like crooked English teeth, yanked up the leggy shrubs that grew under it. The stump alone weighed 2.6 ton the crane driver told me when he and his six men, two chainsaws, a truck, came to sever its cling to the earth, pulled it from the ground. They cut it as close to the soil as they could. Our car (a four-door Golf) weighs, I think, a little over 2 ton. Twenty dining tables in that tree, he said, which was a curious measure but one I understood and could picture. Continue reading

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