Merry Christmas

And a Happy New Year.

Published in: on December 25, 2004 at 5:28 am  Comments (2)  


Yes, what is it? Fiction is something imagined and is not true in the normal usage of the word true.

Think of Wittgentein’s argument that a private language is impossible. Any use of language must have an objective public component.

Think of Pegasus or a unicorn. If you dissect them appropriately, you will obtain Pegasus parts or unicorn parts that bear some verisimilitude to the parts of a real animal. However, Pegasus and the unicorn are not real.

Fiction is the same way. When a person writes a work of fiction, no matter how paltry their imagination, they have stitched together certain emotions and experiences into a new kind of beast.

The reader of a fiction, which is freely admitted and acknowledged to be a fiction by the writer, should not ask of the writer to tell a scientific or historical truth.

The reader can dissect the fiction into parts and find something real even if it is only a vividly felt emotion, but the whole of the fiction is not true in the conventional sense of true.

That is no more the fault of the writer than it is the fault of Pegasus or the unicorn that they just happen to be the beasts they are.

Published in: on December 8, 2004 at 1:01 pm  Comments (1)  

Chicago and Houston

You go to the local pub. You buy a Chicago Sun-Times on the way over. Once there, you drink some Buds at a very sedate pace and read the paper.

A guy sitting next to you starts talking to you about the girlfriend he used to have in Chicago, but who has since moved to Houston. He’s bought her Christmas presents already even though she’s essentially dumped him.

You think of the woman who used to be your girlfriend, the woman who once lived in the Houston suburbs, the woman who you loved the most in your whole wasted life. You think of the places in Texas where you both once went together, Galveston, San Antonio, Austin, and all the places in between.

You wax sentimental, pull inside yourself. You put a couple of tunes on the jukebox. The bartender buys you a shot of Maker’s Mark whiskey. You buy another beer and a pack of Camel straights. You smoke and drink and you know you cannot make it any harder than this. It takes a while before your songs play.

Your songs, “God Bless Texas” by Little Texas and “Talk Dirty to Me” by Poison, finally play on the jukebox. They are not about her. They are just about wanting to hear something that rocks.

It is all about the dark days in Chicago when the sun rises late and sets early.

And how you have managed to negotiate away the past.

Published in: on December 8, 2004 at 1:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Angels and Aliens

You think about the people who claim to have met angels or aliens. You wonder how many of those people have met both angels and aliens.

You wonder how they recognize the difference between the two species. I mean, what if there are aliens that have wings sprouting from their backs, have halos around their heads, and wear white robes? Or what if some angels are skinny hairless little guys with big eyes?

It would be the devil to tell the two apart.

You wonder what Descartes would say.

Published in: on December 6, 2004 at 1:36 pm  Leave a Comment  


You lie in bed. You read Sodom and Gomorrah. Proust is the current treat you give yourself at the end of the day.

You begin to doze, but before drifting into deep sleep you wake. You snap off the light beside the bed.

You fall asleep wondering what it would be like to make sense of your experience.

Published in: on December 2, 2004 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  


It’s dark. You walk to the garage. You start the car and aim it towards Iowa.

You roll through the Illinois fields newly covered in snow. You turn off the Interstate onto Highway 30. You cross the Mississippi River at Clinton. You love crossing the Mississippi.

Highway 30 turns into a two lane road. There is no snow in Iowa, just the brown remains of the corn fields fresh from harvesting, like the stubble on the face of an old man poorly shaved.

You drive through the small farm towns: Grand Mound, Clarence, Lisbon, and others whose names you don’t recall.

You eat a feast at your sister’s, the best meal you’ve eaten in a year, the last time you were there for Thanksgiving.

Later, back in Chicago, you think of your sister and just how much you love her and how it is so nice to have some place to go on Thanksgiving.

Published in: on December 2, 2004 at 2:47 pm  Comments (1)