tuesday hijinks no. 10: Printers Row Book Festival in Chicago, suitcase postmortem


1. I packed my red shoes but did not wear them. They make the photo because they go well with the ARC of Because It Is My Blood.

2. I bought the print at the festival. The verse reads:

Lady Tulip, stately dame,

From across the ocean came;

Liked this country very much,

Although she only spoke in Dutch.

This puts me in mind of a few lyrics I like from a Bright Eyes song called “Road to Joy.”

I could have been a famous singer

If I had someone else’s voice

But failure always sounded better

Let’s f*** it up, boys, make some noise.

the writing life #7 & song for jay reatard

An interview with me about my new book, The Hole We’re In, in last week’s Publisher’s Weekly*:


In aforementioned interview, I referenced Jay Reatard, who I’m sad to report died last week at the age of twenty-nine. (I gave the interview over a month ago.) Anyway, I didn’t know Jay Reatard personally, but I was a fan of his music and we’re even using a couple of his songs on the Japanese Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac movie soundtrack. My favorite song of his is probably “No Time” which seems an appropriate title given how prolific he was and how relatively short his life.

Below, the video for the song I mentioned in the interview, “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me.” In it, Reatard is looking very Clockwork Orange-y, and I dig that about him.

*The interview is by Greg Changnon, and his questions were extremely clever and thoughtful.

song for the health care debate

“I Don’t Want to Die (In the Hospital)” by Conor Oberst from his eponymous album

The thing is, though, I kind of do want to die in the hospital. That is to say, as a self-employed person who pays a significant portion of my income for a shockingly meagre health plan, dying in a hospital seems pretty darn luxurious.

song for people who think the rise of twitter may mean the end of the world is nigh

“Oh Yoshimi, they don’t believe me
but you won’t let those robots eat me”
–“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Part I”
The Flaming Lips

I hate Twitter. I won’t say I’ll never be on it but only because I’ve learned to not make grand proclamations on Things I’ll Never Do. (Hello there, Gabrielle version 2006 who swore she’d never blog — how ya like me now?) But I actually do feel a revulsion toward Twitter that I’ve never felt toward any other social networking website or related technology, and that I’m not sure I can fully explain.

Our song comes from the year 2002 and everyone who knows me will know that it’s one of my favorites.* I happen to like robots, though. One of the saddest things I read about the global economic crisis was that the recession in Japan was devestating the robot industry. It wasn’t all going to be building robot girlfriends for the socially inept either. There were going to be robots to care for old people, and you know, we could really use those.

*It is also one of Will Landsman’s favorites as readers of Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac will surely know.

Song for Anxieties about the Escalation of Troops to Afghanistan

Ah, so many songs to choose from. It could have been “Road to Joy” by Bright Eyes or “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones (though that’s about Vietnam and last night President Obama swore that Afghanistan is not Vietnam, right?…) or “It’s a Hit” by Rilo Kiley. But we’ll save all those for another day. I think I’m going with “Intervention” by Arcade Fire. (That’s why it’s sporting the bold, see.) I wrote half of my next book, The Hole We’re In, listening to this one, by the way — if you could wear out a digital file, I would have. I remember hearing that song for the first time in a hotel room in Santa Monica several years ago and thinking that I needed to get on writing better books.