Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Nine

 

Hamlet wakes up in the underworld. He is up on stage. Act 1: Scene 1, Elsinore, the rampart walls of his familial Dutch castle, except something seems wrong. Part of the castle is made of plywood, and painted gray. Other parts of the castle are styrofoam molded to look like stone blocks.

Up above him on the rampart walls, he sees men dressed like Spartans because the wardrobe people are idiots. The guards hold spears, are keeping an eye out for Norway who is coming soon to kick everyone’s ass.

The guards address each other as Bernardo, Fernando, Marcellas, and Horatio, but Hamlet knows those men, and the guards are not those men. Hamlet thinks he’s dreaming. The imposter versions of Bernardo, Fernando, Marcellas, and Horatio, begin talking about a ghost they have seen. Hamlet climbs the stairs to join them on the rampart walls. Halfway up, he hears them say that the ghost that has visited them two nights in a row is Hamlet’s father, the recently slain King of the Danes. Okay, Hamlet thinks, I’ve heard this one before.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Elisa Gabbert. Her new essay collection, The Word Pretty, is available from Black Ocean Press.

This is Elisa’s second time on the podcast. She first appeared in Episode 241 on January 8, 2014.

Gabbert is a poet and essayist whose other books include L’Heure Bleue, or the Judy Poems (Black Ocean, 2016), The Self Unstable (Black Ocean, 2013), and The French Exit (Birds LLC, 2010). The Word Pretty was a New York Times Editors’ Pick, and The Self Unstable was chosen by the New Yorker as one of the best books of 2013. Elisa’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the New York Review of Books, the Guardian Long Read, Boston Review, the Paris Review Daily,and many other venues. She is currently writing a book about disaster culture and human failure, The Unreality of Memory, forthcoming from FSG Originals. She lives in Denver.

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I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

 

In quantum field theory, in my imperfect understanding of it, gleaned from YouTube, a physicist can make an atom vibrate on one level, like a violin string, as well as a neutrino on another level, and so forth and so on.  But apparently, Higgs Boson, a subatomic particle with no mass whatsoever, moves everywhere, on all levels; fluid, like a body of water, like a river, appearing and disappearing. This is why it’s called the God particle. It’s omniscient and omnipresent. It doesn’t move through time, it is time itself.

*

Scientists say the temporal lobe connects the past and the present so that we are able to construct a continuous sense of self. It is our temple of emotions, our history, and how we, I believe, maintain homeostasis — a divine state of internal equilibrium. Biologically speaking, homeostasis means able to maintain a stable and constant environment; blood pressure, temperature, glucose levels, hormones, among other functions. It is like a set of interdependent mechanisms all assuring the viability of the organism. It is also a self-correcting system, much like a driver at the steering wheel of a car, constantly adjusting the wheel to the right or to the left to maintain a smooth trajectory.

Beach Boys

By Bud Smith

Essay

Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Eight

 

I was dreaming I was a Beach Boy, but now I’m home and I’ve given that up.

I can hear the state flag of New Jersey whipping in the wind against the face of this building.

Yesterday, I walked over to the public library and got a library card. I’m reading Hamlet, and a book about Hamlet written by Harold Bloom. And I’m finishing off a few letters I still have to send. Trying to run to the post office. You know how it is, you can be alive 111 years and there’re always more letters to send.  More people to thank for your life.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Saskia Vogel. Her debut novel, Permission, is available from Coach House Books.

Vogel was born and raised in Los Angeles and now lives in its sister city, Berlin, where she works as a writer and Swedish-to-English literary translator.

Previously she worked as Granta magazine’s global publicist and as an editor at the AVN Media Network, where she reported on pornography and adult pleasure products. She volunteers her time as the honorary secretary of SELTA and as part of the team that organizes Viva Erotica, an annual film festival in Helsinki that explores the art, history, and culture of sex on film.

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I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.


Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Seven

Most of the time when you see a piano you’re not allowed to play it, but you’re supposed to try, even if you don’t know how to play it. Or at least I’m asking you to, because I’d love to hear you play.

 

Watching William smoke a Marlboro Red on Cannery Row, looking out at Monterey Bay and the gulls going keekeekeeekeeekeee.

 

Then I woke up in Big Sur and heard the waves crashing on the rocks just outside the tent.

 

All these days, all these nights, a restless feeling, and never truly comfortable and always looking for peace. And maybe I’ll find it tomorrow. Oh I doubt it. Oh I don’t even want it.

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Lydia Fitzpatrick. Her debut novel, Lights All Night Long, is available from Penguin Press.

 

Fitzpatrick’s work has appeared in the The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, One Story, Glimmer Train,and elsewhere. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a fiction fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and a recipient of an Elizabeth George Foundation grant. She graduated from Princeton University and received an MFA from the University of Michigan. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughters.

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Support the show at Patreon or via PayPal.

I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.

a review of Sun Kil Moon’s latest record, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans (Caldo Verde Records, 2019)

 

My mother and I drive from Los Angeles to a suburb outside San Francisco because her father is dying. At least he thinks he’s dying. His bladder has stage three cancer and his blood pressure is bad and he’s losing weight.  But the doctors say that with radiation he could last a few more years. The cancer moves slow.

We’re on the 101, just beyond King City, and I’m listening to the new Sun Kil Moon album, I Also Want to Die in New Orleans. She isn’t. I’m wearing headphones, even though she wants to talk, because I told her I’m writing a review of the album. My mother is very small. She grips the wheel tightly. She hunches forward when I tell her, “My friend Joey at The Nervous Breakdown asked me to review the new Sun Kil Moon album so I’m listening to it now, on headphones.” She’s only okay with me putting on headphones if I frame it as “a career thing.” She likes to talk to me (not about her dying father) and it’s not like I’m home very often or the best at sharing things about my life on the phone, or in person. Sometimes I don’t know if my mother trusts me. Like her, I don’t particularly like her dying father. But I think, maybe because she says I have his eyes, that she worries some nasty part of him will continue living on inside of me. And that scares her. The car is a BMW SUV.

Good Luck: Episode Twenty-Six

 

Well, it was a bad idea to wait to try and write this in the car, while all these beautiful things are flashing by outside. The last thing I want to be doing is looking at my phone. I’ll do it for this hour, and then, as I promised my brother, William, we’ll switch and I’ll drive the rental car into the Grand Canyon.

 

Into the Grand Canyon. Yeah. I’m gonna drive this Nissan right into the Canyon.

 

We were just at a rest stop near Sedona and there was a big sign giving a history lesson about the white guy who found the Grand Canyon. First of all, imagine being the guy who thought he found that, think about him having to tell his friends, “I found this reallllllllly big canyon” and his friends going, “Nice, what are you going to call it?” and he says, “The Grand Canyon.”

 

America is funny like that. What’s this big mountain range called? “Rocky Mountains.” “Okay, I guess that’s good, let’s check and see if anyone else already is using it…wow …no one has. Rocky Mountains is available, I can’t believe it.”

Now playing on Otherppl, a conversation with Lilliam Rivera . Her new YA novel, Dealing in Dreams, is available from Simon & Schuster.

 

Rivera’s previous novel, The Education of Margot Sanchez (February 2017) was nominated for a 2019 Rhode Island Teen Book Award, a 2017 Best Fiction for Young Adult Fiction by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and has been featured on NPR, New York Times Book Review, New York magazine, MTV.com, and Teen Vogue, among others.

She is a 2016 Pushcart Prize winner and a 2015 Clarion alumni with a Leonard Pung Memorial Scholarship. Lilliam has also been awarded fellowships from PEN Center USA, A Room Of Her Own Foundation, and received a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation and the Speculative Literature Foundation. Her short story “Death Defiant Bomba” received honorable mention in Bellevue Literary Review’s 2014 Goldenberg Prize for Fiction, selected by author Nathan Englander. She recently received honorable mention in the 2018 James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award.

Lilliam’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Elle, Lenny Letter, Tin House, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and more. She has been a featured speaker in countless schools and book festivals throughout the United States and teaches creative writing workshops. She lives in Los Angeles.

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I wake. I reach for my watch. I press the light button on the watch. I shut my eyes and try to fall asleep. I can’t. I get up. I sit on the toilet. I try to pee while I sit on the toilet. I brush my hair while I sit on the toilet. I wash my hands and brush my teeth. I dress. I go into the kitchen and prepare breakfast. I let the cat out. I let the cat in.

I Have a Terrible Feeling is a series of weekly drawings, cartoons, and sketches by poet Adam Soldofsky.