Peace One Day

September 21 is International Peace Day. One day, no violence. Imagine the possibilities.

Thanks, DD!

Dao more shei kaan (Give me the ears for it)

I've got this song, "Praan," in heavy rotation on my iPod. Evidently I'm not the only one who's getting a brain worm from it. The song just spent some weeks at number one in Amazon's soundtrack bestseller list. Apparently there's a ringtone out there, too.

You may recognize "Praan" as the soundtrack to Where the Hell Is Matt?.

I'm not usually this passionate about pop songs, so I'm not sure why this one has stuck. To be sure, it is a joyful song, sung hauntingly by Palbasha Siddique. Beyond that, I don't know. At least it's not Hansen. (If you still remember the brain worm you got from their inexplicable 1997 hit, or even if you don't, you won't want to click that link.)

The song is based on the poem "Stream of Life" by Rabindranath Tagore. Here it is:

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

(translated by Tagore)

"Praan" means "life, breath, devotion."


The Great Diminution

Must trim 137,000-word novel to 115,000 words.


7/14: 137,263 words
7/15: 136,901
7/16: 136,291
7/17: 135,666
7/18: 134,473

[break: in which I fretted over the existing 134,473 words; finished a chapter in a different book; and pondered an interpersonal paradox]

7/24: 133,871 words
7/26: 133,444
7/27: 132,890
7/30: 130,872 (after four hours in the studio!)
7/31: 129,947


RIP, Rocco Carbone

The Italian novelist Rocco Carbone died three nights ago in an accident in Rome.

I didn't know him well -- we'd only just met -- but a connection was there. I'll miss the wonderful friendship we'd only just started, and the books he didn't live to write.

A tribute by Paola Caridi. La repubblica. Corriere della sera. Wikipedia.


It's the Little Things

I am sitting in my office. It's dark because I haven't opened the blinds.

"Open the blinds," I tell myself.

"Ugh. Who feels like getting up?" That's my inner thirteen year-old.

"Open the blinds. You can't just sit here in the dark. You work better when there's light in the office."

"My stomach hurts. I have a headache. Do I have to go to school today?"

"Open the blinds."


"Take more Zoloft."


"Open the blinds, then. OR take more Zoloft. It's one or the other. Now get cracking."


"What is your problem with the blinds?"

"They are ugly. They don't work properly. They remind me that I need to replace them. More work to do."

"Well, you're not going to replace the blinds today. Today, you are going to work. But first, you will open the blinds, or you will go into the kitchen and take more Zoloft, and then you will open the blinds."

"But if I go into the kitchen, I will eat a cookie, not a Zoloft."

"No, you will eat a Zoloft. You do not need a cookie. You need a Zoloft. Or, you need to open the blinds."


It kills me to do it, but I open the blinds. I take more Zoloft. I start work. Something is more wrong than usual. It shouldn't be this hard.


Mostly Fits

"Life is fits and starts, mostly fits." -- Walker Percy, The Thanatos Syndrome. Which made me laugh today.

RIP, Tom Disch

Gone, suicide, handgun.

"Because of his intellectual audacity, the chillingly distanced mannerism of his narrative art, the austerity of the pleasures he affords, and the fine cruelty of his wit, [Disch] has been perhaps the most respected, least trusted, most envied and least read of all modern first-rank sf writers." -- 1993 Encyclopedia of Science Fiction

His blog. The despair is all there, and so obvious now, hindsight being what it is.


RIP, Esmin Green

After waiting 24 hours -- that's right, a full day and night -- in a Brooklyn psychiatric ER, Esmin Green collapsed and died on the fucking floor.

Her collapse was noticed by a security guard, who did nothing. A nurse later nudged Green with her foot, then returned to work. Then someone lied on the chart, saying Green was doing fine at 6:20 am, an hour after tape from a surveillance camera showed her face down on the floor.

Now, the hospital is required to check waiting patients every fifteen minutes, and to keep waiting times to no more than ten hours, which I suppose is an improvement but not exactly what I'd call a humane standard of care for someone in the grip of a psychosis.

On arrival, Green was agitated and psychotic. Imagine what her last twenty-four hours were like.


Torrents! Gouts! Sheets! Cats! Dogs! Finally!

My Deficiencies

I am sitting with my mother in the nursing home.

"I'm so tired," I complain.

She looks me over. I feel about eight years old.

"Do you feel worse walking up hills?"

Come to think of it, yes.

"I walked up College Street today. I felt like it took more effort than usual," I said. "I thought it was the heat."

"You have an iron deficiency," she announces. She is more confident than most doctors. "Eat more meat."

She's probably right. I've been anemic before, and I do feel that way -- lethargic, and steaks and cheeseburgers seem oddly palatable. Still, I resist the Floradix. Is this why we have doctors, because we don't listen to our mothers?

Or is that just what my mother would say?