Some Open Letters Answered

A follow-up from a few days later in 2010.

Looks like my “Open Letters to the Radio” were read by some people.  Now that Civil Twilight is following me on Twitter, I feel like I should expand on my comment from last week.  I was mostly making a joke about those vampire books and movies.  I actually didn’t know civil twilight was meteorological (?) term, and I’m assuming there’s an intended double-meaning about the piss-poor state of civilization.  It’s a cool concept.  Just not a great name.  Thanks for the follow!

Other letters answered this week: a couple rejections from non-paying fiction venues for some experimental things.  I have a good feeling about some other pieces currently making their way out there in the world.

Books are People, Too

Not mentioned when I wrote this post originally?  It was also my 30th birthday.  Almost a decade later, we still have books.

In the course of looking for a cover image of They Don’t Dance Much, I came across Book Worship.  You need to check that out, especially if you’re one of those people who isn’t made sick by the (looming?) death of book-as-object.  I get sad about the death of cassette-tape-as-object, so you can probably figure where I come down on totally paperless publishing.

Book Worship reminded me of this awesome Flickr set I found a few months ago.  There’s something about this mid-century design aesthetic that makes me want to write better.

James Ross: From Obscure to Lost and Back

Bkish.com no longer exists.  I don’t remember anything about whatever this essay was.  I’m guessing from context it had something to do with James Ross and Flannery O’Connor.  I was reading a lot of Flannery then.  I should read her a lot again soon.

My first contributing post is up at Bkish.com.  Check it out.  By the way, The Habit of Being is pretty good so far.

Open Letters to the Radio

Dear Civil Twilight,

It’s a shame about your name.

Dear David Byrne,

You really, really do sound like Robin Williams.  That’s not a critique.  Just an observation.  Sort of like how somewhere in my mind, Tom Hanks and Billy Joel are the same person.  I don’t think that’s just because of “My Life”s role as “theme from Bosom Buddies.”  You never did any work for Mork & Mindy, did you?

Isn’t it strange that Mork & Mindy was a spinoff of Happy Days?  Did you know that the guy who wrote the “Happy Days” theme song (not “Rock Around The Clock”) also wrote “Killing Me Softly” and that he wrote it about Don McLean?  Sort of brings everything into focus.

Dear Gorgeous Sixties Love Song,

You know who you are.  Please stop.

Dear Freebird,

I want to apologize for getting out of the car before you were done this morning.  I was in a hurry and wasn’t thinking.  You deserve better.  I can be better.

Writing In The Vernacular

From January 2010:

I mentioned a few days ago that I’m taking at class at The New School with Robert Antoni about writing in vernacular language.  One of the challenges/opportunities of the course will be the chance to workshop our own vernacular stories at the end of the semester.  I’ve already started brain-storming mine, which will feature Americanized San Marchese (the language of San Marco Dei Cavoti, Campania, Italy), Pennsylvania Dutch, and the hybrid of these two I heard my grandparents speak when I was growing up.  It’s not the case that my grandparents spoke exclusively in these vernaculars:  they both spoke standard Enlgish (more or less) with heavy regional and cultural influences and code words from their own backgrounds and each other’s. My grandfather (first generation American) could, at one time, speak fluent San Marchese and probably understood most PA Dutch (as far as I could tell) and my grandmother knows those Dutch words and many of Pop’s vernacular Italian.

Codifying the regional, non-standard pronunciations of standard English phonetically will be a little bit Alan Lomax.  And then there are code words: the Italian commands and sly Dutch sneers and their interplay.  You don’t usually get stories about Dagos (if Pop said it I can) in rural/urban German Pennsylvania.  I’m also looking forward to breaking out heevahava.  To Pop’s credit, I learned that from a bus driver.  Fa nable.