A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Friday, February 25, 2005


What have I done with my week?

(a) completed the first draft of a side project for one of my main projects

(b) cleaned up "Walk Like a Panther" and submitted it to its first magazine

(c) started a new short story called "No Brakes, I Don't Mind"

(d) watched the last 3/4 of The Wire season 2, the second disc of My Own Private Idaho, and the second disc of Raging Bull

And what will I do next week?

(a) clean up I Was Someone Dead and deliver it to the copy editor; get Keith started on the promo postcard

(b) clean up this week's side project and deliver to the person requesting it

(c) continue the other new project from a couple of week's ago, as well as "No Brakes"

(d) Read more Beroul and start some Malory

Current Sountrack: Peter Murphy, Wild Birds 1985-1995

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


The new "Can You Picture That?" is now online. It's a wish list of movies I wish were on DVD but aren't. Please feel free to post your own suggestions for titles in the comments section here or on the Oni board.

Current Sountrack: Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark, The Pacific Age

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, February 18, 2005


Andi Watson turned in all of the drawings for I Was Someone Dead. The whiny limey was all, "Wahhhh, I don't know if I can make my April deadline," and then he turns around and whips out a slew of amazing drawings in February. I don't know how he can live with himself.

But they are brilliant. On Cut My Hair, I told people what to draw; on this one, I let Andi have absolute free reign, and he picked some interesting stuff and approached it in a really amazing way. I'll give you one of them, one of the more straightforward ones, but this is just a tease, you have to wait:

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that the first issue of Andi's amazing new series, Little Star, is in stores this week. It's marvelous, his most complicated and mature narrative to date, all about the joys and horrors of fatherhood and a man's struggles to come to grips with the changes in his life.

We're also told the story Andi and I did for Four Letter Worlds is due out on March 2nd. Order it here now.

In other news, I have been working on various and sundry. Chynna Clugston roped me in to assist on a short story for the Blue Monday: Painted Moon collection, which has been kind of a bitch to write. I've also been working on a new comic book idea of my own that I've written about 27 pages for that I don't want to really reveal too much about yet. I am playing with a specific form and genre, and as part of the process I am trying to bend to its will rather than bend it to mine. It's been interesting, as I've already learned a lesson or two from going into it that way.

For instance, as we know, I have very specific ideas about how to approach point of view in comics. Every sequence in 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, for instance, I had a rationale for how the point-of-view character was privvy to the information if he wasn't in the scene. In this new book, though, I work with a more conventional cinematic approach, a third person omniscient narration. In one two-page sequence, I managed to leave my main character, and in so doing, establish a setting and a supporting character and heighten a paritcular mystery in a very economical fashion, and it was like a big "duh" smacking me in the face. Of course this is why these sorts of sequences are done. How obvious!

It won't change me from normally sticking with a limited narrative voice, but I think it will be good for me to step out of that for a bit.

Current Sountrack: The Smiths, Stop Me Japanese EP; Pulp, This Is Hardcore Japanese edition, disc 1

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, February 17, 2005


When last we left Jean, he had lost his job, failed to find the girl he wants to be with, and discovered that his friend Grady had betrayed him to wear leather pants. This third and final installment was once again written at the Wednesday night residency of The Stolen Sweets at the Laurelthirst, and it is dedicated to them. The ending will need to sit with me for a bit to see if I like it, and opinions are welcome. (Part 1) (Part 2)

"Walk Like A Panther" final installment

Night fell, coming down from where it had waited and sat with Jean's equally low spirits. How stranded he had become, how absent of purpose. He knew he could go home, but he couldn't come up with a single reason why he would. It was an empty apartment, and it was him who bled it dry.

Instead, he wandered around the neighborhood, forming an ever-widening circle with the pizza parlor at its center. He would mark each street, leave his spoor in every crack in the sidewalk. After about four times around, he found himself at the top of a steep hill, looking down. He recognized the incline, but he knew it in reverse. He had walked up it only hours before.

The cat house, stage right.

The hairless cat was skulking through the grass, and it froze when Jean's eyes landed on it, one paw of the ground, caught in mid-step. It was watched Jean, as if it wanted to see what he would do next. Jean took a step forward, and the cat bolted, diving through the cellar window it had been spying from that afternoon. Once it had given itself to the darkness, Jean stepped into the yard. No sooner had he felt soil then the Top Cat emerged from the basement shadows, like Jean had accidentally tripped a wire that let him out of his cage. The Top Cat meowed and walked straight up to him, passing by his shins, running the length of his body against Jean's pants. The Top Cat turned around and did it again in the other direction.

Jean sat down in the grass. He reached out and scratched the cat behind his ears. Top Cat leaned into it, a look of decadence on his face--eyes closed, chin up. He climbed onto Jean's lap and sniffed at his cheeks, his eyebrows, his forehead. The cat's nose was cold and wet, but his breath was warm and pleasantly fishy smelling. From that vantage point, Top Cat's head looked huge. Surely this was a head suitable to wear the crown of the king of beasts!

Top Cat settled into Jean's lap and submitted to a thorough petting, his engine revving like he was preparing for a drag race. As they sat together, more of the cats started to come out of hiding. The Siamese, the orange tabby, the one with yellow ears. Jean counted around ten. (He was a little confused about how many grays there actually were. They looked too much alike.) Even the hairless cat came back out, sitting oat the edge of the yard by the house, watching everything from a safe distance.

Jean was growing relatively content with the new status quo when he noticed that all the felines' ears hat started to perk up and twitch. They were trying to dial in something, but Jean's human ears could not work the same range and his kitty ones were sadly non-functional. Top Cat raised his head and looked down the hill, his ears following the direction of his gaze. He was using body language to report his reconnaissance to Jean.

The sound was faint at first, but it was getting clearer by the second. There was a rattling noise and an intermittent bleating. Then there was also the occasional flash of emerald light. It wasn't particularly timed to anything; it didn't work in conjunction with the noise or come in regular intervals. As the volume continued to turn up, Jean realized it was a shopping cart. He could see it now, coming up the hill. The rattling was because it was full of empty cans, the obnoxious bleating from the boot that had been put on one of its front wheels to keep people from taking it from the supermarket.

Pushing the cart was the homeless man Jean had run into that morning. He was singing to himself—no, more like humming, or maybe scat. Jean didn't recognize the tune. There was another burst of emerald as a street lamp ricocheted off of a lemon-lime soda can.

Jean waved at the man. Top Cat stood up on Jean's lap. He looked like he was ready to strike if needed. All the other cats were standing at attention, too, facing the hobo.

For his part, the man stopped and quietly leaned on the cart handle. He tossed Jean a big grin. "I told you that you couldn't avoid me all the time," he said.

"I considered myself warned, too," Jean said. When he spoke, Top Cat settled down a little. He was no longer standing, but he still kept a vigilant watch, quickly scrambling to his feet again when the homeless man started rooting around in his cart. Jean felt the begging prick of claws in his calf.

The homeless man pulled out a bottle that was three-quarters full with a thick green syrup. "I got some Kiwi MD 20/20," he croaked. "I won't say what the MD stands for. I don't want to frighten your minions."

"Oh, you can't scare these guys."

"And you can't scare me. Care to share some hair of the you-know-what that bit ya?"


The man grabbed the lemon-lime can and brought the bottle over to Jean. He sat down next to him. He smelled like cream cheese. Jean scratched Top Cat's ears, and the feline eased off again. The other cats were milling about, pacing the yard like prison guards. The hairless one even moved a couple of feet closer.

The homeless man took the can in his hand and began to twist it. The metal crinkled and made a sick sound before splitting in half. He took the bottom portion and pushed at the ends, trying to smooth them out. Jean could see his fingers were dry and calloused, the skin turned hard against the world. His digits were the color of beets, and had they not been in such rough shape, he surely would have cut himself on the sharp aluminum.

He filled the newly fashioned cup with the cheap kiwi liquor and handed it to John. He toasted him and then took a belt straight from the bottle.

Jean took a sip, gingerly lifting the cup to his lips so as not to slice them open. The drink tasted shocking, like he had bit into the fruit it had been named after only to discover it was really an onion--one that had been injected with the sterilizing liquid they use to clean combs in barber shops.

"The second drink tastes better," the hobo said, "and by your fifth, it's like you're suckling Heaven's teat."

There was no denying the wisdom. The second sip was sweeter. Even if it did make his head feel like the Hindenburg at the moment of impact. When he finished the first cup, the homeless man refilled it, and they toasted again.


"Cheers," Jean replied. "You're better than the whole damn lot of them."

"You're a swear word waiting to be blotted out."

Jean laughed and drained his lemon-lime cup. Top Cat sniffed at it, so Jean put a little of the booze on his finger and let his friend lick it off. The cat's tongue was rough and hot.

"What's going to happen to me?" Jean asked the homeless man.

"I don't know. More of what's already happened, probably."

"I see."

Jean looked in his empty cup. The metal inside was pristine silver. He held it out for more drink, and the man sitting next to him took it from his hand, instead handing him the bottle. The lemon-lime cup was put down in the grass, and the hairless cat inched over to it, crawling on its belly. The feline sniffed at the cup, and then licked at its edge. The thin metal instantly cut its tongue, and when the cat recoiled in one direction, a trickle of crimson blood flowed in the other.

Current Sountrack: Erasure, "Oh L'Amour" CD single (original version)

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


I've started reading Beroul's The Romance of Tristan, and was curious about some of the adaptations of the story. Has anyone seen Lovespell with Richard Burton?

Click the picture for the Amazon link, and either e-mail me or post a comment here about whether or not you feel the film is worth seeking out. Please refrain from informing me that the actress was in a Star Trek spin-off.

Also, if anyone knows anything about any of the filmed versions of the Wagner opera, please let me know, too.

Please don't be offended by the way I chose to link to Amazon for the Wagner. It just seemed the quickest way to show several options. I suppose if anyone knows of a must-hear recording on CD, as well, I'm open to suggestions.

Current Sountrack: Erasure, "Victim of Love" CD single (again)

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, February 14, 2005


For those of us with no Valentine today, let's not blame it on ourelves, and instead blame it on the impossible standards of the perfect woman, as personified by Veronica Lake in This Gun For Hire.

Not only does she look like Veronica Lake, which is self-explanatory, but the character in the movie:

(a) sings and dances

(b) won't rat you out to the cops

(c) does magic tricks

(d) has her own pet monkey

I'll never date a monkeyless woman. Because I hate being the only monkey in a relationship.

Current Sountrack: Dirty Martini, Dirty Martini

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Friday, February 11, 2005


My February 3 entry contained the beginning of a short story called "Strange Behaviour," now called "Walk Like A Panther." I had started the story at home, but had continued it during the first Stolen Sweets gig. I went back this past Wednesday for the second night of their two-month residency, and though I had been unable to come up with any direction for the story in the week inbetween, I wrote twice as much while at the bar. I am starting to think there is a hex on this story and I can only write it there. I'll have to keep going back until it is finished. Not really a bad thing, as I enjoy the music. They were looser this week, and had more fun. They're a great band.

The second section is below. Note that the guy in the leather pants who Jean pissed off at the club now has a name. He is Greg.

The text is also not yet proofed.

"Walk Like A Panther" installment 2

Jean had a friend named Grady who worked at a joke shop. His last name was Grady, actually, and no one ever asked him his first. The store was populated less by items for pranks than it was posters for cult movies and ironic T-shirts advertising products that hadn't been made for three decades. "A lot of the kids that buy them," Grady told him, "they aren't old enough to know what they are. They have a nostalgia for something they never learned to remember."

Jean had most of his early afternoons free. He worked the three o'clock shift doing janitor work at a small private school in his neighborhood. As the kids cleared out, he cleaned up. Days at the shop were generally slow for Grady, and obviously it was the same for Jean, so Jean would wander down and hang around.

"Do you ever get any different postcards with Cary Grant?" he asked. "I always see the same ones. Every place I go, they have the one from North by Northwest where he just got his picture taken. You know, with the murder weapon in his hand."

"We once had one when he was getting old," Grady said. "When he started to look like a tree with the super tan and the wrinkles."

"Cary Grant never looked like a tree," Jean said. "Bite your tongue. You know that when Cary Grant walked into a room, he totally owned. The guy was a jungle cat, and he ruled the pride, if you know what I mean."

"Speaking of, nice ears."

"You think? What with all the piercings and alterations people get, I wonder if I can make them permanent?"

Grady opened the cash register and pulled out a five dollar bill. He folded it neatly and slit it in the breast pocket of his shirt. "You know, if they keep raising taxes on smokes, I'm going to have to steal a lot more."

Jean wasn't sure what to make of that. He was starting to wonder if Grady was the right friend for him, because he was starting to think he didn't understand Grady and was reasonably sure Grady didn't understand him.

"You really shouldn't--" Jean started to say, but Grady was out from behind the cash register and moving across the store. He had a "Back After These Messages" sign with a picture of Rod Serling on it in his hand. He took down the Huckleberry Hound "Open" sign and replaced with that.

"Come with me to get cigarettes," he said. "I have something you should see, what with the mood you're in."

Jean followed without thinking. He was more occupied with the fact that Grady was wearing leather pants. He hadn't seen them when the counter was in front of him. When had Grady gotten them? Were they giving leather pants away somewhere?

When they went into the convenience store, Jean peeked to see if the clerk had a pair, as well, but he didn't. He was wearing a long apron and what appeared to be boxer shorts. They had dark orange and red grapefruit bubbles on them. Jean bet he had a girlfriend and she bought the underpants for him. No guy would want to wear them on his own, but a woman would think he should. Jean's most comfortable pair of boxers had little trumpets on them. If he ever wore them around a woman, he was all prepared to joke, "I like to toot my own horn." He hoped after all this time he could make it sound spontaneous.

Once Grady had his cigarettes, he beckoned and Jean followed him out to the parking lot. Grady was beating the pack against the back of his hand. It was an annoying habit. They crossed the street and headed away from the shops and into the houses. "It's just up the hill," Grady said.

The concrete crested. Jean was feeling winded. Grady finally stopped beating the pack and cracked it. Jean thought of that word because the peeling of the cellophane sounded like an eggshell being broken. Grady hit it some more to make one white cigarette slide out. "A few more nails and this coffin will be paid for."

The house they were looking for was two stories high with a pointed roof. The top of the house was painted brown, but it gradually faded and chipped away into white as it reached the ground. Jean heard some meowing, and he saw several cats wandering around the yard. An orange tabby was lazing in some overgrown grass, a Siamese yawned on the porch, a black and white one with ears that were yellow like a banana.

"It's a cat house," Grady explained. "The lady that lives here, she has, like, eighty of them."

"No way. You're exaggerating."

"Maybe. I did say like."

As they watched, more cats appeared. A white one with a grey top that had black stripes running through it leapt off a windowsill and attacked the happy Siamese. Jean was pretty sure he saw one of those hairless cats peering out from an open cellar window.

"It's amazing," Jean said.

"Told you."

Jean watched the Siamese and the other feline wrestle. Maybe the attacker was the top cat.

"Hey, Grady."


"You think a real cat has ever worn fake cat ears?"

Grady snorted. "I dunno. Think about it. Did you ever see a human wearing fake human ears?"

"What about rabbit ears? Could you put rabbit ears on a cat?"

Jean had a quick flash in his brain of himself in the dead of night, shoving the top cat in a pillowcase. He jumped in a cab, and there were bunny ears on the seat. "Step on it, driver!" And they were away.

The hairless cat retreated into the dark, as if he could sense Jean's kidnapping plot.

"Hey, Grady."


"Do you know that guy Greg?"

"No. Why?"

"No reason."

Jean thought Grady sounded guilty, like maybe he'd been caught and was too shocked to do anything but opt for the simplest lie. Could Grady and Greg have formed their own pride? Jean thought he was Grady's dominant male, but maybe another had usurped him. He knew he could probably handle things on his own, but is a lion ever a lone wolf?

* * *

Work that day began relatively normal. At least one kid vomited each day at the school, and Jean was always pointed in that direction first. The other janitor, Paul, gave him a funny look when he told Jean where to go, like he could still smell the puke, even though it was on the other side of the building. As Paul walked away from him, though, he kept looking back over his shoulder, giving Jean the distinct impression that it was he who had the offensive odor. He put it out of his mind and pulled on his blue jumpsuit and grabbed his mop.

On his way to the mess, Jean passed the principal in the hall. Mr. Bernard (pronounced "Bur-nerd") was nearly bald and oily strands of hair that remained made Jean uneasy, like they were infectious and his own mane would start to wither. He tried not to look when Mr. Bernard was near, and Jean put his head down when the man approached. He nearly jumped into the wall of lockers when the bald principal grabbed his shoulder. Mr. Bernard pointed at Jean's head, zapping him with that finger. It, too, was greasy, and there was a dark comb over on its joint.

"What's that?" the principal asked.

Jean put his hands to his head. He was relieved that his hair was still there, but also surprised that so were the fuzzy ears. That must have been what Paul was reacting to.

"Oh, I forgot."

"Did you also forget you can't wear those?"

"Who said?"

"You have to wear the uniform."

Jean motioned up and down his jumpsuit. "I am!'

"Kitty ears are not part of the uniform."

"I can wear a hat."

"Those aren't a hat."

"They're like a hat."

"Take the ears off."

Jean considered this order. He considered taking the ears and putting them on Mr. Bernard's head, to give the little man a little more dignity.

"No," Jean said. He was firm.


"In a word."

The principal didn't like this response, and his face turned a blazing red and the top of his scalp got shinier, as if the anger caused him to excrete more oil. He demanded that Jean leave the premises at once, which jean thought was a bit of an overreaction and a little bit out of range for a man of this character. It's normally the mangy felines that are expelled into the wilderness. What kind of blackboard jungle was he in?

Jean threw down his mop, and it made a loud clack that echoed through the empty halls. He saw Paul again on his way out, and the man still gave him a queer eye. In his head, Jean roared.

* * *

The girl worked in an office building downtown selling ad space for animated displays they installed over urinals in public bathrooms. Jean had nowhere else to go, so he walked down there and staked out a spot across the street. She should be getting off soon, and she'd come out those big double doors wit the gold handles. But would she see him? A blue jumpsuit, his ears, were they enough? He wanted her to notice him. Then he could assert his will.

There was a bike shop a couple of doors down. He went in. "Do you have a green light?" he asked them.

"No," they said. "We just have red."

"Like for the back of a bike, so drivers can see you at night?"

"Yeah. Red."

"You don't have green?"

"Not unless they got here while you were asking me."

Jean bought a small red light. It was plastic and battery powered and it had a canvas cat with Velcro ends. He took it with him back to his spot and wrapped the strap around a lamppost before starting it up. The light blinked every couple of seconds.

He waited. Eventually, people began spilling out of the building. He looked for her, kept looking at the light to make sure it was on and then back to the crowd, still waiting for her. She should have been in with them, but if she was, she didn't see him and he didn't see her.

Eventually, he took the light off the post, threw it in the gutter, and stomped it with his foot.

* * *

On his walk home, Jean swung by the joke shop to see if Grady was there, but the owner was working the counter now. Jean thought it best not to go in and ask if he knew where Grady had gone, even though his cat ears didn't look out of place there.

Instead, Jean went across the street to get a slice of pizza. As he approached, he saw Grady through the window and thought his luck had improved. Only, Grady was sitting with someone, and that someone was Greg. He knew that bastard had been lying! Grady thought the leather would camouflage the scent, but the stink of the pants was its own admission of guilt.

Current Sountrack: DJ Shadow, Endtroducing (you gotta dig it back out every once in a while; it doesn't age)

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich


I try to keep internet memes off this blog, but Laurenn McCubbin called me into hers and if I don't do it, she'll whine about it until I die, and she'll do it in the key of Colin Meloy, and frankly, no one needs that. You can read her answers here. Unlike her, I make no apologies for my choices. That would presume I care what you think. And I must maintain this image that I am the tough cheese who stands alone.

1. Total amount of music files on your computer:
115 songs, 7.8 hours, 466.1 MB

2. The last CD you bought was: The Origin's self-titled debut from 1990, which I really liked in college. It was a "skuffed" copy for $4.60, so I thought I'd see if I still liked it. I haven't tried it out yet, though.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message? Saint Etienne, "Hug My Soul." Sarah Cracknell. It's all about the Cracknell.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.

1. Suede, "By The Sea": The song they will play at my funeral. It encapsulates everything, and speaks highly to my obsessions with just walking away.

2. The Smiths, "Back to the Old House": Romantic longing. Here began all my dreams, the saddest thing I've ever seen.

3. Manic Street Preachers, "The Everlasting": Obviously.

4. The Cardigans, "Communication": My favorite song from last year. It never stopped digging into me, never lost its lustre.

5. Pulp, "Razzamatazz": Because it's the greatest put-down song ever. The trouble with your brother, he's always sleeping with you mother, and I know that your sister, missed her, time again this month.

6. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?

Kelly Sue, as she is not a music fan and it might break her brain to try.

James Lucas Jones, because he never updates his blog and it will be a challenge to see if he can do it before we're all bored with the idea

Jen De Guzman, because maybe she'll expose some secret shame. Like Tom Jones. Of course, j'adore Tom Jones. Quel sexy beast!

Current Sountrack: "The Al Franken Show" on Air America Radio

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, February 10, 2005


Click on the image above for a special sneak preview of this new project, and go here for the official press release from Oni Press.

My e-mail address is below for anyone seeking more information or who may want to help hyping the book. You can also drop me a line if you want to be added to my e-mail list.

Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, Speak & Spell UK version

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


For all of you who got all tweaked because Jennifer Love Hewitt played Audrey Hepburn in a TV biopic and thought I was crazy when I said at least she was a fan and it could be worse, I now have proof of how right I was and how you are wrong. Don't fuck with Mr. Zero, as they say.

Paris Hilton as Holly Golightly is the final straw in making me an atheist.

She actually looks all right in the second picture, in those rare moments when you can forget she is vacuous and not even talented at porn, but what is with that first picture? Did they actually photoshop her face on a real Breakfast at Tiffany's still or something?

Current Soundtrack: Erasure, "Victim of Love" CD single

Thursday, February 03, 2005


The Stolen Sweets' debut was excellent. They played a really exceptional set, and were very tight for a first performance. The sound was crystal clear, too. I am going to try to make it to some of their other Wednesdays, with a definite for the last night of the tenure. If they are this good now, I imagine once they have gotten comfortable in their skins, the results will be astounding.

I sat at the bar and drank a ton of coffee and read some of Robert Bresson's journals. My favorite quote: "Don’t run after poetry. It penetrates unaided through the joins (ellipses)." I also drank a ton of coffee and scribbled in my little notebook, picking up a short story I've started called "Strange Behavior." I have only finished one short story in the last four years, so who knows if it will go anywhere, but what I have so far is below. The paragraph about the napkin in his breast pocket is where I began tonight:

He stood at the top of the stairs, wearing cat ears and a grin stained with Scotch. He had hoped to see her all night, and this was the third place he'd been. He was a little drunk and was losing faith when she appeared, walking up from the basement, where the bands stayed, where the liquor and food was probably housed. When she saw him, she smiled. He liked her smile. It looked a little wrinkled, and that was charming.

Remembering that he was wearing the ears—just a little band that went around his head, fuzzy and black—he played the part, clawing at the air, "Meow." He wasn't sure if she noticed, because she didn't react.

When she reached the top of the stairs, she crossed to him. He couldn't smell her, but he imagined she smelled like flowers, like soap, like the powders he always found in girls' bathrooms. There was a desire in him to find out, to push his face into her skin, to bury himself in her, and root out the scent. Instead, he stood with his back straight against the wall, like he was holding it up—or was it holding him?

As she got near, she reached out a hand and placed it on his upper arm. "Jean," she said. "I can't believe it's you."

"Why? Had you heard I'd gone completely feline?"

Jean reached up and stroked the ears with his fingers. They weren't as soft as the fur on a real cat.

"No," she said, "it's just been so long."

"I'm easy to find," he told her. "You, on the other hand, are not."

She pressed a finger into his chest. He didn't really feel it, but he saw it, marked it with his eye, imagined a red spot there on his shirt. "Stay there," she told him, pushing, making him sink into the wall, the plaster cracking behind his shoulder blades. "I'll be right back."

There was pleasure to be had in watching her walk away. It wasn't as good as seeing her approach, when her arrival meant that she would land on him, but Jean liked looking at her even from behind, with the symmetry of her gait, the slight sway to her hips. His impulse was to chase, to pounce, not let her get away, but she had fixed him to his spot with the force of her touch.

In his breast pocket, he had a raggedy napkin from the last time he had seen her. One edge had gotten wet from the residue of the drinks that had been on the table, and where once it was moist and torn, the napkin was now dry and brittle.

But she had written on it, drawn a picture of a long-eared rabbit facing the blank horizon. She printed, "Hello, buy me a bunny rabbit" across it. Was the rabbit reading her demand? He didn't know, but he had actually checked at a pet store to see if they had any. Turns out they didn't. It wasn't rabbit season. He didn't know how he would have smuggled it in, anyway. It wouldn't have fit in any of his pockets.

He decided to move, to step off the wall and break her spell. She had told him to wait, but he didn't want to wait. He didn't want to appear as anxious as he was. Jean never liked a crowd.

In a corner across the room, there was a guy he knew who always wore leather pants. Jean had always wanted to ask him if he had just the one pair. The guy waved at him, so Jean walked over to where he was.

"Hello," the guy said.
"Did you see the start of the show?"
"No. I was seeing another show."
"Well, at least you'll catch the end."
"Sure. Hey, I've been meaning to ask you, is that your only pair of leather pants?"
"You're a real son of a bitch, you know that?"
"What? Do you just wear them over and over? How do you wash them?"
"There's a reason no one likes you."

Jean didn't really understand, but it had pissed the guy off enough that he stormed away, looking over his shoulder once to shoot eye bullets at him.

Searching around, Jean saw her across the room, by the bar. She was with a skinny guy in a green jacket. Even though he was looking at him from the front, Jean knew his hair was probably thinning in the back, but he also likely had better teeth. They were standing with two other girls. Jean couldn't tell who was talking. They all looked like they were speaking at once.
He thought he could go over to her, but then he thought better of it. It was smarter to let her come to him.

Only she never did. The quartet streamed out, past the spot where he had been standing, where she told him to stay, and then down the stairs she had come up.

Jean stayed at the club a while and then left.
The next morning, Jean had the epiphany that all of his memories were not his own. He was there, to be sure, when they happened, but they did not happen to him. The trigger was thinking of her, standing with those three others, then walking away. Yes, she had said hi to him before that, but the night only truly began after she departed, didn't it?

It was the same of the night when she had drawn the napkin for him, given it to him. Once it was in his hands, she was not. He was sitting at a table, on a stool, but she had moved to a booth, sat beside another man. That man put his arm around her and showed her pictures on the small, glowing screen of a digital camera. They were pictures of the evening that had just happened, but he was not in any of them. He knew, because he saw them taken. He was always behind the flash. Was it the same guy from last night?

These events were for them, not for him.

The cat ears were on the floor by his bed. He put them on, even before he put on anything else.
It was obvious people looked at him when he walked down the street. You'd think they'd never seen a cat before!

Or maybe they were ears for a girl cat, and Jean didn't know it.

A homeless man gave him a thumbs up. Such dubious validation. "Life can't avoid me all the time," the man said. "Evil must have its due."

Current Soundtrack: The Mavericks, What a Crying Shame

Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Saturday I was sitting outside reading Boccaccio's The Decameron when a homeless guy known in the neighborhood as Daniel Boone came by with his cart. He is called that because his name actually is Daniel, and he looks like a wilderness man, some kind of homeless Grizzly Adams. It was one of his lucid days, when he actually wants to talk to people and not shout at them, and he asked me what I was reading. I told him.

"I don't think that's very good," he said, shaking his head. "You should be reading Stephen King. He's good."

"But I don't like Stephen King," I replied.

"Yeah, but I'm pretty sure he's better than that."

I was going to defend Boccaccio, who has survived hundreds of years and outlasted many Stephen Kings, but Daniel was walking away and if there's one thing I know, you don't stop the crazy homeless people from leaving you alone.


I firmed up 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and gave it to Christine Norrie so that it is out of my hands and I no longer have to worry about it, at least for the time being. She won't be able to draw it for a while, I think a late 2006 release would be the most optimistic we could hope for. But I am happy with the script, I think it's pretty good. Plus, some of my stuff has taken fifteen years to get completed, so this is speedy by comparison.

And I finished the first draft of Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 10.

Today we start rewrites on the novella. Maybe. I hope. It's hard to get me moving. I hate rewrites. I know some writers love them, live for them even, but I think they are creeping death.

Current Soundtrack: The Monkees, Anthology

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Ten years ago today, Richey Edwards stepped out of our lives and never looked back.

As the rhythm guitarist and one of the lyricists for the Manic Street Preachers, Edwards--who originally went by the name Richey James--had come to mean quite a bit to a lot of people. While the band's success was primarily in Europe and Asia, there were some of us in America who gravitated towards the Manics because they resembled something more akin to the complexity of emotion we were feeling. It was the early '90s, and while Kurt Cobain's constipated gibberish began to touch on the alienation that many were feeling, it was too stuck within itself, too garbled, to mean everything.

And meaning everything is important.

The Manics were different. Richey and his fellow lyricist Nicky Wire had the same kind of disaffection, introspection, and anxiety as Cobain, but they also had an anger at a world that said they could not bend it to their will. Unable to accept that, they started to apply as much weight as they could, to see how much they could push the boundaries. They lashed without as much as they lashed within.

Richey's disappearance had strange reverberations for me. There was always something in me that believed I could do this, too. In high school, I wrote a story about myself as an old man, living alone in a big house and denying all access. In college, I laid out my plans for my first three novels, the third of which stars a man whose words eased a lot of pain, but who checked out from life because he could not cope with his own. I even started the long road of my soon-to-be-published novella, about another character who can't cope in normal society, with humanity trying to tear itself apart. I conceived of all of these things before I had ever heard one note of the Manic Street Preachers. Part of it was inspired by Sherwood Anderson, who didn't disappear, but who walked out on a straight life to become a writer. The core of it is simply something I had in me, that I wanted to say. Reading about Richey's disappearance, it was like it had come true.

I pulled out my Forever Delayed DVD, along with the early albums, in honor of Richey today, and I was struck all over again by just how brave and outrageous this band was. I'll be honest, I didn't really get it all at the time. They were absolutely strange, embracing rock 'n' roll in a way that was noticeably passé while being markedly futurist. They had big riffs like Guns 'n' Roses, yet they dressed like extras from Bowie's "Boys Keep Swinging." They were macho and feminine, given to grand slogans and Dadaist gestures, making a glam racket while reveling in absolute trash. Their first major single was called "Motown Junk," and started with a sample of Public Enemy chanting "Revolution! Revolution!" over and over. A white rock band from Wales! Their second single was called "You Love Us." Who could say they didn't?

It's amazing how angelic Richey could look. In the video for "Slash 'n' Burn," he is perfection in mascara, baby-faced and alluring. He was as in-your-face as a rock star could get, famously carving words into his skin with a knife, but there was something equally torn up behind it, like the bloody gashes were just a disguise, a distraction to keep us from seeing what else was going on, like he could cover up what his words had laid bare. Depression, alcohol, self-mutilation, anorexia: he was broken, and somehow he was broken on our behalf.

No one knows what happened to him. He could be dead, he could be hiding somewhere, the mystery may never be solved. Or it has been, and those who solved it aren't telling. Any of those solutions--as sad as they may be--are fine. He left us with his art, and he hopefully has achieved peace.

Current Soundtrack: Manic Street Preachers, Forever Delayed DVD remix section

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2004 Jamie S. Rich