The knock

It was so faint, I was sure I must have imagined then knock — on a neighbor's door? — so I didn't bother putting pants on, but just in case, I crossed the apartment to answer it, in my writing uniform, comfy boxer briefs, black gym socks and crocs. He was there. It was a timid neighbor, new to the building, at his wit's end with the century-old plumbing, ready to smash his radiator or pay someone to do it and buy some upgrade. He had seen a radiator on the staircase, a strange sight, mismatched it to my place and came seeking advice. (It only occurred to me later that that was a week ago — had he been summoning the nerve to tap so lightly all this time? (Or maybe he had just missed me, as I

"The Largesse Of The Sea Maiden"!

Only 3 more days! Denis Johnson's The Largesse Of The Sea Maiden comes out Tuesday, and my pre-order should arrive then. His story collection Jesus' Son is my favorite book written in my lifetime, and this is his follow-up collection, 25 years later. Hopefully worth the wait! (Unfortunately, I'm enthralled with Call Me By Your Name at the moment. But these are short stories, so maybe I'll jump back and forth. Good problem to have.) Tuesday Update: Those Amazon bastards screwed me. My credit card was expired, which they notified me of on Monday, as it was about to ship. I provided a different card right away, but they say it's not coming until Thursday. I'm not sure why that should add a two-

Loving the book too: 'Call Me By Your Name'

Well I'm only on p. 13, but I generally know right away when I fall for a book, and this had me from page 1. It's also really interesting to see how it plays out in prose. It was so wondrous on screen, but it was hard to picture all that being described, without sounding corny or . . . something. But it feels effortless, wonderful. It's all about establishing the voice. It's such a great voice, which comes through a bit in the film, but is mostly lost. The book can't bring everything the film does, but vice versa. I really only expected to check out a handful of scenes, because I rarely get much out of a book--enough to justify a long read, at least--after the film has delivered all the spoi

Call Me By Your Name: beautiful

I saw Call Me By Your Name Saturday night, and feared it might be another gay film for straight people like Moonlight. It was so much more than that. Really moving, and complex. (A slow build for the first hour, then it went unexpected places.) Beautiful. (Not visually beautiful, though--that was my main complaint. Quite a missed opportunity.) The title also bugged me a bit. What did that mean? Was it literal? Why? I was hoping it would fall into place once I saw it. Yup. Beautiful. I'm going to watch it again with another friend tonight. It kind of makes me want to read the book, though that never seems to go well. It's all spoiled already. I'm afraid I used this one up on the film. Update:

9 books to help us understand mass shootings

A reader just posted this great LA Times piece published right after the Las Vegas tragedy: 9 books to help us understand mass shootings. It's a great reading list, and it was very nice to see Columbine included. Unfortunately, the list remains highly relevant. (Nice to see Sue Klebold's book also on the list.)

Back into the writing groove (on gay soldiers)

First time in weeks I woke up dreaming copy.* It wasn't even directly for this book, but close, so I grabbed my phone and recorded it. And then more, for the gay soldiers book directly, followed. Then at the gym tonight, first time in a long time, more copy came to me effortlessly. I had taken printouts a couple times last month, and worked on it, but it was a bit of a struggle. This time, I didn't plan anything, but a scene I had finished this afternoon--so I thought--opened up again, and spilled out more vividly and more succinct. And another bit from this morning elongated, but I think it's better this way. I ran upstairs to the desk to borrow a pen and paper and got it all down. Here is

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