Comprehensive "Selling 'slightly used' loaf of bread on Craigslist" Post
(click to enlarge)
I also got this email:
To Whom It May Concern:
Here's a graph:
(click to enlarge)
Last night I dreamt about wearing a white tie with a denim shirt and this morning I awoke clutching a pillow that was also white
I have posted a "slightly used" loaf of bread on craigslist. The listing can be viewed here. Please contact me if you are interested. It's free.
UPDATE: The loaf of bread is no longer available. Blog post forthcoming.
One of my Neuroscience professors has appeared on Canadian television, talking about a class that I was in. The clip can be viewed here. Sorry, no "embed code."
My friend Griffin has summarized "Rip Van Winkle" by Washington Irving via "Delicious." It can be viewed here:
Some old guy wanders away from his bitch-ass wife, and just happens to stumble upon a sweet bunch of ghosts who are drinking and bowling. The guy then passes out due to the immense number of shots he had taken, only to wake up twenty years later with no hangover - his biiitch of a wife now dead and the American Revolution long since past.
"Notnostrums" Issue 4 has been published, featuring Matthew Rohrer, "among others." It can be viewed here.
"Noon" 2010 has been published, featuring Tao Lin, Lydia Davis, Dylan Nice, and Deb Olin Unferth, "among others." More info here.
"Can You Relax in My House" by Michael Earl Craig
I don't remember much about this book except that I liked it. I felt distracted for a variety of reasons while reading it and, as a result, I think, the book just passed over me as a pleasurable experience that I can't really describe or elaborate on. I think my reading of "Can You Relax in My House" was like going to a waterpark 10 years ago in that it was really sweet, but I can't remember the names of any of the waterslides or really anything about it except for what I generally understand to be consistent of waterparks like wave pools and fat people and that they're sweet. Likewise, I can say of Michael Earl Craig's book that there were most likely a lot of horses and many of the poems probably took place outdoors. I like the title very much.
"you are a little bit happier than i am" by Tao Lin
this is a review I submitted to "The Rumpus" when they were soliciting poetry reviews at one point, I never heard back from them so I'm publishing it here
# of poems: 48
# of page numbers: 0
# of times I thought the table of contents was a poem: ~2
Other things I purchased when I purchased this book:
• “The Difficult Farm” by Heather Christle
• “Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty” by Matthew Rohrer and Joshua Beckman (collaborative CD)
Where Do the Poems Take Place?
As illustrated above, the majority of “you are a little bit happier than i am” takes place in “reality,” i.e. within “the world” defined by the book in which things happen concretely. Tao has previously said that this book is, he thinks, “a non-fiction poetry book.” Thus, we, the readers, can take lines like “I emailed people and ate cereal and that took three hours because I took my time” and “on the way home i am driving and i make this very wide turn through this massive intersection; and i am driving very fast and i am a little out of control and while i am making this insane turn, sideswiping across three or four lanes, i look at my mom and i grin at her really big and her face looks a little blank and i feel really happy and really sad at the same time” as things that happen concretely within the book’s “reality.”
Alternatively, a not insignificant portion of the poems take place inside the imagination of the author/narrator/Tao within this defined “reality.” For example, the poem “i want to start a band” follows the title’s premise by elaborating on what the narrator/author/Tao would want his imaginary band to be like. None of the poem “actually” happens, as far as the book is concerned. It’s all in the narrator’s/author’s/Tao’s head. Roughly 30% of the book is like this. This imagination is not limited to statements of desire. It also includes the future tense, conditional statements, and hypothetical situations.
Additionally, these imaginative passages are often complicated by the unreliability of the narrator/author/Tao. Lines, statements, and sometimes large passages are negated with phrases like “just kidding” or “i lied” or, as in the poem “i am about to express myself”: “i want to end my life / i don’t want to end my life anymore / i changed”. This flippancy, besides providing some of the funniest moments in the book, seems characteristic of the “fast-paced, information superhighway” that is, to many, “the modern condition,” which Tao seems to express better than anybody.
These imaginative elements, within the “reality” context, generally seem to serve a therapeutic function for the narrator/author/Tao. Instead of killing his literary agent, a desire expressed in the poem “i am about to kill my literary agent”, the narrator/author/Tao can write a poem about it, thus acknowledging his emotions while using them in a productive way that further detaches himself from violent or self-destructive behavior. In addition, these moments are funny and easy to graph.
What is the Emotional Content of “you are a little bit happier than i am”?
Despite the title and, perhaps, first impressions of Tao Lin, I don’t think “you are a little bit happier than i am” is a book that conveys overwhelming sadness or depression. The narrator/author/Tao seems to treat his feelings and emotions relatively analytically such that the resulting expression of those feelings and emotions is fairly calm and detached. Feelings of sadness, loneliness, and depression are acknowledged in the book, however, they seem to be treated no different from any other emotion, and the existence of these emotions is in some way “life-affirming” in that these emotions exist and the narrator/author/Tao is alive and because he is alive he has these emotions.
How “Identifiable” Do I Think The Poems Are?
To measure this, I established an “Identifiability” Scale, roughly defined as how familiar the poem feels to me situationally, emotionally, or cognitively, and how accurately I think the poem expresses those thoughts/feelings/emotions. (See the “Notes on the Methods” section for a more in-depth explanation of the scale, including basic facts about me to better understand my “demographic.”) Each of the 48 poems received an “Identifiability” Score and these scores were averaged to come up with this index.
Average “Identifiability” Index: 5.86
How “Inspiring” Do I Think The Poems Are? (How Badly Do I Wish I Had Thought of That First?)
This was measured by an “Inspiration” Scale (see “Notes on the Methods” section for a detailed explanation), which is defined as how “inspiring” each poem is to my own writing. “Inspiration,” to me, falls into a few different categories and they are, in descending order of significance (which generally equates to palpability): “damn, I wish I had thought of that,” rhetorical/stylistic/content inspiration, and thematic/conceptual inspiration. Each of the 48 poems was assigned an “Inspiration” Score and these scores were averaged to produce this index.
Average Inspiration Index: 6.53
How Funny Do I Think The Poems Are?
Each poem was given a score (1-10, 10 being the most funny) based on how funny I think the poem is. These scores were averaged across the 48 poems to come up with this “Average Funny Score.”
Average Funny Score: 6.52
How Enjoyable Do I Think The Poems Are?
Each poem was given a score (1-10, 10 being the most enjoyable) based on how enjoyable I think the poem is. These scores were averaged across the 48 poems to come up with this “Average Enjoyable Score”.
Average Enjoyable Score: 6.88
As evidenced by the above measures, this book feels highly identifiable/accurate, inspiring, funny, and enjoyable. I think it’s important to note that I tried as hard as possible to score the poems relative to all of the poetry I’ve ever read as opposed to scoring the poems relative to each other. For comparison’s sake, here are approximate scores for all of the poetry I’ve ever read:
Additionally, these measures were created for the purpose of reviewing this book, so it’s only natural that this book “performed” above average in these categories. I just wanted to make some points numerically.
Furthermore, a correlation analysis shows that the “Funny Scores” are significantly correlated to the “Enjoyment Scores,” which is perhaps to be expected. However, more interestingly, the “Inspiration Scores” are significantly correlated with both the “Funny Scores” and the “Enjoyment Scores.” I think this is indicative of the way I enjoy poetry. My theory is that the best books are the ones that make you want to write and these correlations seem to prove that.
Tao Lin gets “shit talked” a lot, I think, because his writing style is a highly reproducible/imitatable/infectious one, however I prefer to think of the poems in “you are a little bit happier than i am” in a more positive, constructive manner. Namely, I see this book as one big writing prompt. Reading these poems makes me want to write and this is a book that I will probably come back to often when I feel uninspired. The poems in “you are a little bit happier than i am” feel genuinely exciting and I would rather read a book that is inspiring and exciting than a book that is not that.
Notes on the Methods
ESPN Publishes End-of-the-Regular-Season Awards Thing
Phase 2 is Complete
I'm going to The New School next fall. I got a scholarship for something. I got rejected from 81.81818181818181818181818181818181818181818181818181818181 percent of the schools I applied to. Here's a graph:
I feel relieved that my next 2 + 4/12 years has some certainty to it, though I also feel like my life isn't going to change at all by going to The New School, which is maybe the point of non-professional graduate school.
I've been awake for one hour. I had to put socks on because it was/is a little cold.
Here's something I've been thinking about recently:
"Rabbit, Run" by John Updike
I started reading this book because I want to read every basketball book ever written, both fiction and non, and this seems to be regarded as a 'classic' re: literary depictions of basketball and literature in general. Someone told me, and wikipedia just confirmed, that two (2) of the four and a half (4.5) "Rabbit" novels won Pulitzer Prizes. "Rabbit, Run" is not one of them. I am looking at the Pulitzer Prize wikipedia entry right now. I see that Saul Bellow's "Humboldt's Gift" won a Pulitzer Prize. I recently started reading that book but stopped reading it because I didn't like it. I'm not sure why I started reading it. I read "The Adventures of Augie March" a few years ago and I remember liking it. Is Saul Bellow dead? I've started and stopped reading a lot of books recently. I don't normally do this and I don't like doing this. Here's a list of books I've 'abandoned' for various reasons:
"Humboldt's Gift" by Saul Bellow (didn't like it)
I thought about abandoning "Rabbit, Run", but I finished it. A lot of times when I read novels, I go into 'fuck you mode' with about 100 pgs to go where my primary goal for the next 24-48 hrs is to finish the book whether I'm enjoying it or not. I did that with this book. I'm not sure what I'm trying to say by saying that. I enjoyed parts of this book. I felt some things. The narration seemed a bit inconsistent, but on purpose - like sometimes Updike would quote a character saying something then close the quote but ostensibly continue the dialogue via narration. He also used umlauts on the word "coordination", which was used 3 times in the book, I think.
I think I'd like to read the rest of the "Rabbit" books at some point not because I care about Rabbit Angstrom that much but because I'm interested to see where Updike takes things, whether all of the books are the same or not. Seems like serialized things don't usually maintain critical integrity, but "Rabbit" books do, at least according to the Pulitzer bros. Here's a meme, I think:
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AJW is the author of numerous poems and short stories, both online and in print. He makes collages here. He is from Wilmette, Illinois. He is an Eagle Scout.
Pop Serial 4
Pop Serial 3
The Broome Street Review (print)
Juked, Juked 2
NYU Prize Thing
HRM Literary/Arts Journal
HTMLGiant Author Page
Thought Catalog Author Page
People I've Interviewed:
Matthew Rohrer again
Michael Earl Craig
Harriet Alida Lye
in alphabetical order
Her Royal Majesty
Timothy Willis Sanders