No You're Not

I met someone today who said, completely without shame or self-deprecation, that he is “writing a book.” And it wasn’t a slip of the tongue like he forgot he wasn’t talking to himself in the mirror because he said it again. You may be composing word salad, or puzzling over a project, or brainstorming a story, but you are never just WRITING A BOOK. Anyone who says they are writing a book is not writing a book.

In other words

I used to have a page on here with quotes and pictures. Here are the quotes:

Shock! It’s as though his soul has touched
me as his arm leans on mine. The electric
current beats along feverish wiring,
and rips. He’s leaned on my soul with his arm.
— Marina Tsvetaeva, Poem of the End
For each of you had her hour, perhaps not
even an hour, but some span all but unmeasurable as we measure time, between two moments—, when you existed. Everything. Veins full of existence.
— Rainer Maria Rilke, The Seventh Elegy
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.
— Anne Sexton, Words
The sorry and ludicrous fact with most people is, alas, that in their own house, they prefer to live in the basement.
— Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death
Once I beheld a splendid dream,
A visionary scene of bliss:
Truth!—wherefore did thy hated beam
Awake me to a world like this?
— Lord Byron, I Would I Were a Careless Child
Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. Your mind is my treasure, and if it were broken, it would be my treasure still...
— Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

I don't think

This was one of my first attempts at a translation of a Russian poem. 

Не думаю, не жалуюсь, не спорю.
Не сплю.
Не рвусь
ни к солнцу, ни к луне, ни к морю,
Ни к кораблю.

Не чувствую, как в этих стенах жарко,
Как зелено в саду.
Давно желанного и жданного подарка
Не жду.

Не радует ни утро, ни трамвая
Звенящий бег.
Живу, не видя дня, позабывая
Число и век.

На, кажется, надрезанном канате
Я - маленький плясун.
Я - тень от чьей-то тени. Я - лунатик
Двух темных лун.
— Marina Tsvetaeva
I don’t think, I don’t complain, I don’t argue.
I don’t sleep.
I don’t reach
for the sun or moon,
for the sea or ship.

I don’t feel how hot it is inside these walls
or how green it is in the garden.
I don’t wait for that long-wished-for gift.

Neither the morning
nor its jangly street tram makes me happy.
I live without days,
forgetting the date, year, and century.

It seems I’m a little dancer
On a severed tightrope
I’m a shadow of someone else’s shadow.
I’m a lunatic under two dark moons.
— Maura Pennington


I had forgotten these words I once loved:

the whole purple melancholy of happiness -- Nietzsche.

the selfish infinity of possibility -- Kierkegaard.

the heart whose sweat was gore -- Byron.

the ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face -- Dylan.

Bloglet Redux

I said I would start writing word salad again. At least I can add this section back to the site.

Six words from this poem popped into my head today:

Because of your enigmatic love
I shriek, as if in pain.
I’ve become sallow and convulsive,
Barely able to shuffle around.

Don’t try to change your tune,
Songs can be deceptive,
But claw, claw more savagely
At the breast of this consumptive,

To make the blood gush faster
From my throat onto the bed
So that death can tear
This damned intoxication from my heart forever.
— Anna Akhmatova, Dark Dream


Someone once said in a workshop that I had written a "dark Faulkneresque fairy tale" and it's stuck with me as the greatest compliment I've ever received. The aesthetic of the inside of my brain is Southern Gothic. 

On love and other difficulties

I bought another volume of Rilke and, I didn't realize, but it is also bilingual. I have found the most Rube Goldberg way to learn German.

But they are difficult things with which we have been charged; almost everything serious is difficult, and everything is serious.
— Rainer Maria Rilke


Found in the detritus of my old documents:

You are suffering from a sickness, one that is fashionable, unfortunately, and that one comes across every day among sensitive people. It is related to moral insanity and can also be called individualism or imaginary loneliness. Modern books are full of it. It has insinuated itself into your imagination; you are isolated; no one troubles about you and no one understands you. Am I right?..... Listen. Those who suffer from this illness need only a couple of disappointments to make them believe that there is no link between them and other people, that all people go about in a state of complete loneliness, that they never really understand each other, share anything or have anything in common. It also happens that people who suffer from this sickness become arrogant and regard all other healthy people who can understand and love each other as flocks of sheep. If this sickness were general, the human race would die out...
— Hermann Hesse, Gertrude

Two weeks ago

I miss this morning view.

CAMP @ YMCA Camp Whittle, Big Bear

CAMP @ YMCA Camp Whittle, Big Bear

I did a deep dive into my Google Docs, also, and found I had saved (for my own humiliation) every Bloglet from the beginning of this website to January 2012, i.e. my most absurd period. I skimmed, mostly for the poetry quotes. And this, the very first thing I ever posted (while still at Dartmouth; reunion in two weeks is going to be great, obviously):

I have just returned from a party of which I was the life and soul; wit poured from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me–but I went away–and the dash should be as long as the earth’s orbit————————————and wanted to shoot myself.
— Søren Kierkegaard, Journals & Papers, 1836


I was contacted by my old department to share how majoring in Russian has helped my life, um, I don't know, check out what I posted on the Internet in just one week when I was 26.

who taught her all this mad, slapdash, heartfelt, imploring, touching trash
— Eugene Onegin

In all seriousness, Russian satisfied something in my soul and stirred my imagination. It was the best thing about college. Highly recommend.


I typed a rough sketch of a scene for the Vandenbergs this week. My white whale.


I've started listening to audiobooks while I walk since I hate reading now. (I highly recommend Dan Stevens narrating Frankenstein and Olivia Williams narrating Persuasion). I decided if I ever get tapped to record an audiobook I will give everyone different voices except for the main character who will just be my own voice. Kind of like how when Laurence Olivier and Kenneth Branagh both directed Hamlet they cast themselves as Hamlet.


My approach to law school is to take a few bar classes and then exclusively study law pertaining to art and artists. It's working out.

Lichtenstein exhibit at the Skirball

Lichtenstein exhibit at the Skirball


No social purpose is served by having the defendant get free some aspect of the plaintiff that would have market value and for which he would normally pay.
— Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard Broad. Co., U.S. Supreme Court 1977
In our haste to disseminate news, it should not be forgotten that the Framers intended copyright itself to be the engine of free expression. By establishing a marketable right to the use of one’s expression, copyright supplies the economic incentive to create and disseminate ideas.
— Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, U.S. Supreme Court 1985

I should have gone to law school before people told me I couldn't expect to be paid to write.


It's Ayn Rand's birthday, which I know because I had dinner with people who told me last night. 

Don’t let anything remain sacred in a man’s soul – and his soul won’t be sacred to him.
— The Fountainhead


I got a list of box office receipts in film class tonight and tallied it up: I saw 23 new releases in 2016, if you're wondering how I ran out of money. 


I bought another bilingual volume of Rilke, even though I don't know German, so that's about where I'm at these days.

Also, I got ice cream a week ago and forgot about it and when I suddenly remembered this evening, it was a moment of pure joy.

The ice cream is vegan and 35 calories so only loosely in the category of dessert, but I feel like we need to find happiness however we can.

And still I believed that life
would never stop yielding if
oneself was what one beheld.
Is not what’s within me my best?
— Rainer Maria Rilke, A Girl's Lament


The great majority of us are required to live a constant, systematic duplicity. Your health is bound to be affected by it if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction, it’s part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space and is inside us, like teeth in our mouth. It can’t be forever violated with impunity.
— Boris Pasternak, Doctor Zhivago

"Alternative facts" are state-sanctioned lies. I will not submit.

To your mad world there is one answer: to refuse!
— Marina Tsvetaeva


Someone once responded to me: "Nothing I write to you can compare to the happiness that this story brought me."

This, however, will be a year of no words.



I miss Philly. I walked everywhere and had a giant apartment. And good friends. School starts again on Monday.