The Rare Human

‘It is the rare human who doesn’t wish to change something about his or her brain.’* I thought about this, about what I’d like to change and came up with a few things. I would like to readily understand higher mathematics, be able to learn Chinese, to discriminate more readily between paths that are mutually exclusive and be able to access early childhood memories in particular the primal episodes, the ones where fears come from. As a writer I would like to be able to write effective horror stories beyond 3000 words. Is that asking too much? What would you change?

* Elif Batuman: ‘Electrified’ [ new Yorker, april 6, 2015]

The Catch

How depressing it is to put up a new post on your blog and no one responds to it, not straight away, not even in ten minutes. You feel like a fisherman who has cast his well-baited line in the water only to have it ignored, while other anglers cheerfully reel in their catch. You fume and fluster, blame the bait, blame yourself, the time or the currents. So what do you do? You fling the line petulantly out of the water, rebait, then cast it in again and say, this time, this time …. for bloggers are much like fishermen and fisherwomen, stubborn and optimistic.


The gangster in the black fedora and fawn trench coat with the pistol in his gloved right hand is no longer there. Perhaps he fell. Or was blown over. Or perhaps the owner of the apartment carried him inside where the wind and rain wouldn’t buffet him. But you’d think the next day when conditions moderated he might have placed him back, up there on the balcony looking down on the street with his beetling black eyebrows like a heraldic stone lion guarding the property.

It’s Going Well

‘Spaceship’ is going well. I keep adding parts to it like Simon, the protagonist of the story, keeps adding parts to his craft to make it fly. I want my story to fly. I want to make it sleek and aerodynamic, like a spaceship propelled by the fuel of imagination. It’s 750 words now. I don’t want it much longer. It can’t be too heavy, too cluttered. It has to be able to lift off. I can feel it beneath me now, surging with power, wanting to take off. It’s almost ready. If only I had an ending, a destination like Mars, to send it to. But I’m working on it.