Chasing Rabbits

It’s odd
Thoroughly stupid, in fact
That a man
Can chase so many rabbits at once
Some are larger
Most smaller
They have every color
Scattering so quickly
When the damn kale is gone
Or they want to escape
From me
They’re wise in that
Because I’d dash their heads against the brick
Cook them, and eat them
Even the large ones
Are not that fucking big

The proof
That a man was not given much sense
Is that he can chase the rabbits
So many god-damned times

In Praise of Wandering

Bill Watterson is one of the best cartoonists of all time. I’d say he’s the best. I can’t imagine a better art, better characters, or a better strip than Calvin and Hobbes. It was brilliant when I was a kid and it’s brilliant now. It’s easy to wonder how such a prolific author came up with so much great art in one lifetime.

In the Calvin and Hobbes 10th Anniversary Book, Watterson speaks about his own creative process, specifically how he came up with ideas for his strip. He wrote:

People always ask how cartoonists come up with ideas, and the answer is so boring that we’re usually tempted to make something sarcastic. The truth is, we hold a blank sheet of paper, stare into space, and let our minds wander. (To the layman, this looks remarkably like goofing off.)

Like most of the work Watterson has produced, there’s a gem in it: goofing off is how creativity works. The really great ideas, the really incredible ones, usually come from the metaphorical gambol. Continue reading

Funny Numbers

10,000 is a funny number.

In most libraries across the country, you’ll find one book that focuses on that number like a hawk. That book, of course, is Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcom Gladwell.

The book describes the success of many people, from the Beatles to Bill Gates. The author attributes their success to mastery over their given craft, and posits that this mastery comes from 10,000 hours of deliberate practice; inborn talent is only allowed to grow if the person commits to practicing that skill in a deliberate way for long periods of time. This is not the only piece of the success puzzle that Gladwell posits, but it is a large one, and one that’s being debated.

What’s implied by this theory is that in order for a person to be a success, they must specialize at an extreme level. They must get really, really good at a single thing.

One of the people who’s put in their 10,000 hours is a comedian named Louis CK. He’s been in the stand-up game for quite awhile now; he has a successful sitcom, stand-up specials, and roles in Hollywood films. By any measure, he’s a great success, a seminal figure in pop culture today. Continue reading

Captain Ellie

When I returned from
The Isle of Celyon
A hell, it burst between my ears
In a Sussex gutter
I resolved to die
To leave this world in gin and tears

God showed me mercy
He showed me love
When he sent her to my side
Cast out from my fellows
But in her warm hands
I found faith, and I found my pride

Captain Ellie, oh! She made me rise!
Rise!
Captain Ellie, oh! She made me rise!

This pain in my heart
It will not subside
Captain Ellie, oh! She made me rise! Continue reading

The Blood Runs Cold (Contains Spoilers)

It is not funny that a man should be killed, but it is sometimes funny that a man should be killed for so little…

– Raymond Chandler, The Simple Art of Murder

In Cold Blood is one of the best books I’ve ever read.

I got the audio book from my library yesterday. I am just beginning, but I am already hooked. It’s one of those books you can’t put down.

The story, as you might already know, is about a murder. Specifically, the murder of four people, the four brutal members of the Clutter family in unassuming Holcomb, Kansas.

That is not a spoiler. They tell you right on the cover.

Nobody would ever think of In Cold Blood as a mystery, but that’s really what Capote has crafted here. In a traditional mystery, a reader doesn’t really know if the mystery will be solved, who is going to die, that sort of thing. But In Cold Blood is not that, and never claimed to be that. Instead, Capote is relying on something else.

The suspense that the book created in a single word: why? Continue reading

Rest on Your Laureates

A poet laureate can be understood as an official poet of a government. The US has had a national laureate for many years. I was reading an article in the New York Times that there are actually 45 state poet laureates in the US. This number doesn’t count those lower than the state level; there are tons of them on the county and city level as well. Hell, even my city has one.

The funny thing about this article, in particular, is that it wasn’t an article about how poetry is a dying art.. The writer even mentions this multiple times in the article, as if surprised herself. There was another article the Times published more in line with this narrative. The author calls on the nation’s schools to begin teaching poetry again. What is funny here is that the article is based on three false assumptions.

The first assumption is that poetry is a dead art form here in America. It most certainly isn’t.

For proof, I turn to Fancy by Iggy Azalea.

Stay with me now. Continue reading

Tequila and Whiskey and Frank

On life’s edges I met a man
I called him a friend for a while
He drank from bottles of smoke and flesh
Through a crack on his face for a smile

The lights were shining brightly
True beauty in shadow and gray
For we both found such pretty things
Before our nights bled to days

Tequila and Whiskey and Frank
Tequila and Whiskey and Frank
Tequila and Whiskey and Frank
Tequila and Whiskey and Frank Continue reading

Understanding Highs

Pop music these days is, well, poppy.

Most of the music that makes it to the charts is fun, and little else. That’s fine, right? Surely nobody’s looking for insight, guidance, or commentary from a pop star with whipped cream cans coming out of her bra.

Pictured: subtle social commentary…

But in the midst of all of this mindlessness, there’s something that’s a little off. The songs that we’re hearing, even the ones in the pop charts, are picking up on it.
Continue reading