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Regret, by definition.

I’m not sure what to say about this article about the reappearance of John M. Ford; chances are good you’ve already seen it, since it’s been out for almost a week now, and it shows up in the wee little sidebar on the Google news thing, which I assume means people want to see it enough that the algorithm has learned it’s what people want to see. —But I’m not gonna not put a link to it here; the days I don’t want to be Dorothy Dunnett when I grow up, I want to be John M. Ford; every time somebody quotes his line about his horror of being obvious, I feel entirely too seen. Maybe wind this up with a growl at, I don’t know, the Yankee health insurance system, or capital’s grinding gears, or pettily familial stupidities redeemed by an accidentally incandescent burst of good news: send tweet.

What I tell you three times is true.

The thirty-third installment’s been released: the eleventh (and final) chapter of the third volume, which means: I’ve done it. I’ve gone and written a trilogy.

No. 33: carnival was ringing

And there’s work yet to be done and technical difficulties to overcome and I have to re-remember all the stuff about marketing and distributing book-shaped objects but for the moment I get to sit here on this deserted bit of beach as the tossing storm growls away over the horizon and take a deep breath and enjoy the silence, before I start vaguely to worry about what happens next. (An aftermath, yes, I do enjoy a good aftermath, but then what? And what then?)

—I guess I’d thought a Snark would have more meat on it?

—30—

“This is the violence that endings do to stories,” says Aaron Bady, writing over at Dear Television about the final season of Game of Thrones; come for his epic musings about the longue durée, sure, which get at how we go about doing what we do, but stay as Sarah Mesle namechecks the smoldering appeal of Tanthalas Quisif Nan-pah, which gets at some of the all-important why—wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it; thank you. (—The commenter who insists “you cannot directly comment on the real world with fantasy and every one who thinks so is a pompous idiot” would be the lagniappe.)

Offensively impeachable.

“Ultimately, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney seemed to have been able to talk the President out of closing the port of El Paso […] After the President left the room, agents sought further advice from their leaders, who told them they were not giving them that direction and if they did what the President said they would take on personal liability […] ‘He just wants to separate families,’ said a senior administration official […] ‘At the end of the day,’ a senior administration official said, ‘the President refuses to understand that the Department of Homeland Security is constrained by the laws’.” —And this, more than the election interference and the emoluments and the graft and the et cetera (though those too!) but THIS, this nightmare is why he has to go, and go now.

Catastrophic injury and sudden death have been known to occur.

Those Go Army commercials they’re showing all the time on Hulu now, there’s the one where a fire squad or a platoon or whatever crashes their choreographed way through an otherwise empty neighborhood troped up to read as GENERIC MIDDLE EASTERN HOTSPOT, firing guns at everything but each other, or the other one, where a cavalry unit of jeeps encrusted with soldiers charges across a field, and helicopters keep pace overhead, and every gun held or mounted shoots rapidly repeatedly wildly ahead at something we never see, stitching the sky with Star Wars light, and all the while in both commercials this calm cool collected authoritative voice stirringly intones platitudes of altruism and sacrifice, of service to those in need, of the best America has to offer, it’s all just as completely dizzyingly incoherent as those other commercials they show on Hulu all the time, full of people out living their best lives, smiling with ostentatious magnanimity as they forego this or that limitation previously imposed by implied, otherwise unseen conditions, and all the while this clipped and business-like authoritative voice rapidly monotones the endlessly specific side effects of whatever miraculous pharmaceutical it is that makes all this wonderment possible; “Do not take Qurac if you are allergic to Qurac.” —The hard power, and the soft.

Mister Blue Sky, please tell us why.

“Teens and young adults are in the midst of a unique mental health crisis,” we are told, and of course we’ve got to go and blame it on their use of smartphones and social media, tsk tsk, and not the fact that, say, nobody older than them seems to give a shit that we’re literally burning the clouds away.

A moment of your time.

Over at the city, the thirty-second novelette is appearing this week, and next; the penultimate chapter of the current volume, the third, which we’re calling In the Reign of Good Queen Dick.

And I know what you’re thinking: Kip, thirty-two novelettes—that’s a lot! —But you count it all up, it’s only 484,470 words, in toto, so far: considerably less than two Songs of Ice and Fire. (It’s also just over one Lord of the Rings; 44% of a Harry Potter; 15% of a Wheel of Time, or a Malazan Cycle, though it’s 50% of a Marq’ssan; 28% of a House of Niccolò; and 210% of a Valley of the Nest of Spiders.)

So it’s not that much, in the scheme of things. You could probably get all caught up before I’m done posting this one.

No. 32: only to sit

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single person in possession of a billion dollars must be in want of dismantlement.

“It is always a little sad to see what the people rich enough to have everything actually want,” says the article, and truer words; truer words.

Just wrestle me.

“For such a physical sport, some men may express concerns over applying force on a woman or pressing against a female opponent in the era of the #MeToo movement,” says the article, and what bizarre creatures, these men-who-may, who seem utterly bereft of concepts of context and consent…

“This was back in 1945.”

Well, I was working in a dental office on Lexington Avenue for two brothers, JD and JL Burke, and all morning long people would come in and say there seems to be rumors that the war is ending. And since I wasn’t very far from Times Square, I could just walk over there and see for myself. And so after my bosses came back at 1:00 from their lunch hour, excuse me, I went straight to Times Square where I saw on the lighted billboard that goes around the building, V-J Day, V-J Day, and that really—that really confirmed what the people have said in the office. And so suddenly I was grabbed by a sailor, and it wasn’t that much of a kiss, it was more of a jubilant act that he didn’t have to go back, I found out later, he was so happy that he did not have to go back to the Pacific where they already had been through the war. And the reason he grabbed someone dressed like a nurse was that he just felt very grateful to nurses who took care of the wounded. And so I had to go back to the office, and I told my bosses what I had seen. And they said, Cancel all the appointments, we’re closing the office. So they left, and I canceled all the appointments and went home.

Interview with Greta Zimmer Friedman, August 23rd, 2005

The Kissing Sailor.

SARASOTAGeorge Mendonsa hasn’t even been buried yet, but a statue depicting the World War II veteran kissing a woman in Times Square to celebrate the end of World War II has been vandalized in Sarasota.

The sculpture called “Unconditional Surrender” was spray-painted with #MeToo graffiti, indicating the movement founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence.

While the statue—which came to Sarasota in November 2009—represents nostalgia and a level of unity and pride, some consider the act a sexual assault by today’s standards.

—“#Metoo” painted onto “Unconditional Surrender” statue in Sarasota

#MeToo.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Well, we met in Times Square in 1980.

Patricia Redmond:
But who invited you to Times Square then?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
LIFE Magazine.

Patricia Redmond:
Okay. And?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
And we sort of—I didn’t want to reenact the kiss. First of all, my—well, no, my husband did not come with me, but his wife was there.

Patricia Redmond:
Mr. Mendonsa’s wife?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Yes.

Patricia Redmond:
Well, she was there the first time.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Well, I didn’t know. Well, it wasn’t—it wasn’t my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed.

Patricia Redmond:
This was back in 1945.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Yes.

Patricia Redmond:
Okay. So now we’re in 1980, and we do a reenactment of the kiss.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Yes. I told him I didn’t want to redo that pose.

Patricia Redmond:
Well, we have—we have the picture here.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
It’s sort of a—

Patricia Redmond:
And it’s kind of the pose, and it says—and the sign, this is Times Square.

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
Right.

Patricia Redmond:
It says, what does it say on the sign?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
It says, “It had to be you.”

Patricia Redmond:
Okay. So that makes it pretty official, doesn’t it?

Greta Zimmer Friedman:
I would guess.

Interview with Greta Zimmer Friedman, August 23rd, 2005

Surrender.

City of such Roses.

I mean, it’s never a good day to be a white writer of an abashedly Eurocentric “urban” fantasy set in one of the whitest cities in America—but it’s not a good day to be, etc.

36 pages; color cover; three staples, each.

Ah, the glamorous life of a self-publisher.

“ – only to sit – ”

(Not pictured: the large spoon; the saddle stapler; the overnight pressing under a stack of books; the 6"x9" manila envelopes; the Patreon mailing list; the trip to the post office—)

What a week, huh?

When you go to wearily crack a “Lemon, it’s Wednesday” riff and realize it’s only Tuesday.

Beeep.

Heroic convenience store turns to blasts of high-pitched noise in an effort to prevent anyone from ever having to suffer homelessness again. I’m not exactly certain how that’s supposed to work, but—wait a minute—I’m receiving word that this is not the desired effect—

[ insert some sort of multiple face-palm gif, or maybe the one with Nathan Fillion, and his hands ]

Here’s a question the NEA literature staff has been thinking about lately: what do you call a literary title that infuses text with art and is primarily geared toward grownups? A graphic novel? Picture book? Art book? Illustrated book? Or, as the poet Matthea Harvey suggested to me recently as we sat and discussed the matter over brunch, a “tart” (text + art)?

I, I don’t, I just—how about we, maybe we just call them comics? —Unless they aren’t?

And if they aren’t? I don’t know, maybe don’t listen to someone who doesn’t care to tell the difference between medium, idiom, and genre—poetry’s a medium, after all, and intermingling (or co-mixing) pictures and verse would be an idiom thereof, and as for genre, well, that’s apparently mostly useful for figuring out which shelf Citizen ought to be put on, to move more units, or which tags should be used, to maximize SQL query returns, and in the face of such generic concerns the particular instantiation of a singular work such as this seems—

—small?

—unimportant?

—no, wait, those aren’t the words—

Crœsus he ain’t.

BUILD A WALL AND CRIME WILL FALL, the oracle intoned, and the small-fingered king clapped and chortled at the sound of it. But in his glee he failed to note: the oracle had not specified which crime would fall…

Help desk.

So there I am having gotten up at half-past four as one does on a holiday and I’m doing the usual thing where I’ve turned on the kettle and ground the coffee and fed the cats that woke me, and I’ve fired up the laptop and the Scrivener and the wireless headphones, and I’ve lit a candle and drawn a card, and shuffle’s hit on DJ Spooky’s Ghost World mix, that he did for the Africa Pavilion at the Venice Biennale a while back, so that’s what’s in my ears as I head back into the pre-dawn kitchen to plunge the French press and pour the coffee into the thermos, and when I turn around to get myself a cup there’s the Spouse, all unexpected, in her buffalo plaid pyjamas, a cup of her own in her hands, and I jump half out of my skin and make what she later told me was a “very small sound, for you” and anyway, ever since that, my wireless headphones lost their Bluetooth connection and can’t get it back, so is there, like, an easy fix? —Thanking you in advance.