I am feeling most peculiar. My skin feels very sensitive, as if it is sunburned. It’s tender and feels rough from the inside, though from the oustide, to the touch, it feels quite normal. Also, it moves uneasily against my muscles, and my muscles, in turn, move uneasily along the bones. Perhaps it’s just dry. I often mistake minor but unfamiliar problems for impending death or permanent deformity, so I am being careful not to overreact. It doesn’t exactly feel dry, but just in case, I’ve slathered myself in moisturizer and gotten into bed to read a little bit from my stack of current reading.

I did not know that I had so many kinds of moisturizer, nor that I am reading so many kinds of books. I have face moisturizer, two different kinds of body moisturizer, and hand moisturizer. I have used them all. I am also apparently reading four books at once. Instead of reading one book at a time, I am reading one book in each type of genre at a time. It is very pleasing, if slow going.

My short story book is the new Dave Eggers. I believe it is called, How We Are Hungry. This is a fine title for a book and it would be most fitting if it appeared somewhere on the cover of the book. But the cover of the book, which was my main reason for buying the book, is devoid of all decoration except for an embossed pegasus. The embossed pegasus is the only thing that makes this book different from an enlarged version of a Moleskine notebook. Its likeness to a Moleskine notebook was my sole reason for buying the book, since I dislike Dave Eggers.

Perhaps I dislike him because I aspire to be like him (write from own experience, eventually become head of own media empire including tutoring services and stores selling fanciful frivolities), only female and less self-important, and I fear I will never achieve this goal and will instead die bitter and alone, with no media empire to call my own. Perhaps I dislike him because his writing manages to be self-important and soul-less all at once, and represents the worst effects of self-reflection-as-obsession among our generation. However, I was so thrilled to see his book, so prettily resembling the Moleskine notebooks in which I scribble what I can only hope will one day become observations that even approach those of Dave Eggers in their popular appeal, and for the low and uniquely Strand Books price of $19.46, in hardcover no less, that I bought it.

Despite my aforementioned dislike of Dave Eggers, and my impulse, which I followed, to throw You Shall Know Our Velocity across the room and then sell it to the used bookstore, I quite like this one story he wrote about a girl who goes to Costa Rica to sleep with her friend, though her friend is named Hand and this is ridiculous, and she is named Pilar and Eggers describes her ethnicity as being a mystery to her, though I have only ever, ever heard of Latina women being named Pilar. Despite these things I did not like about even the Eggers story that I liked, I liked the story, which is called “The Only Meaning of Oil-Wet Water,” and begins on page 19 of How We Are Hungry and ends on page 54, some 147 before the story entitled “There Are Some Things He Should Keep to Himself” appears. This story consists of five consecutive pages which are blank save for the book title, story title and page numbers printed smugly across the top, and is perhaps the most pretentious piece of hipster bullshit I’ve ever seen published, or not published as the case may be. What next, some band puts an empty track in the middle of their album entitled, “There Are Some Songs We Shouldn’t Sing?” There’s only one John Cage, and he owns that joke and he’s dead.

For novel, I am beginning Don DeLillo’s Great Jones Street. I cannot tell if it is going to be great or horrible. I bought whilst wandering around the East Village stoned last Saturday. I had a most pleasant day getting stoned after brunch and then wandering aimlessly through the East Village buying things I don’t need with money I don’t have.

I bought a fur neckwarmer for $10 from a man on the street. Our language barrier, alas, was too great for me to find out what kind of fur it is made out of, but it is very soft and warm around my neck. I also bought four books, three of which I’ve been meaning to buy and the impulsively bought aforementioned Great Jones Street, which is DeLillo’s story about a guy who quits a rock band in 1973. Most of the time, but particularly when I am stoned, I am engaged in an ongoing effort to time travel back to the early seventies, so I am not surprised that this turned up in the spoils of my stoned shopping spree. I am curious how one writes about a rock band in a non-boring way without sounding like one is trying to sound like Lester Bangs. I am hoping DeLillo has an answer for me, since he never sounds like anyone else.

As for essays, I am devouring Virgina Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, which was reccommended to me by one of my students and is possibly the Best Thing I’ve Ever Read. Let me be the latest in a long line of people to say that Virgina Woolf Is A Fucking Genius. She has me writing little notes in her margins, trying to converse with her and also trying to make sense of the multiple meanings and messages she manages to cram into every sentence. Woolf is saying that artists need lots of time and money so they can think and be hedonistic, and that the money that is concentrated in universities and the authority on knowledge that is concentrated in libraries and the power that is concentrated in the patriarchy is some fucked-up bullshit. (More or less.) My sixteen-year-old student has read this book a bunch of times, and it’s all she wants to talk about, instead of trigonometric functions, and I don’t blame her.

In the science category, I am still reading One River by Wade Davis. It’s really long. I am amazed that one guy (or two or three guys, since the book is a kind of the story of three generations of ethnobotanists) could go to so many places and eat so many exotic plants. It makes me want to go to lots of places and eat a lot of exotic plants. I think I will, if I can get my skin to stop feeling so peculiar. Or maybe there is an exotic plant somewhere that can cure this condition of feeling like I am about to jump out of my own skin. Maybe there is one that can assist me in actually doing it.

One Response to “Peculiar”
  1. Gothamimage says:


    The bathroom at the Oyster Bar is one that I am hoping to keep a bit more quiet about!

    Congrats on the blog, and on being a super lefty as opposed to a more conflicted one, like my blog.

    Virginia Woolf was awesome- why the nexus between good writing and mental illness?

    As far as Eggars goes, I went to an Eggars party some time ago at a bar in Brooklyn and I was totally put off by the cult scene. Something is wrong.

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