A round-up of high quality tweets from people in the world of literature…

Mark Leidner:


I admire Ron Currie Jr. for a bunch of reasons, but most of all for the risks he takes. It takes brass balls to write a book like God is Dead, or Everything Matters! And it takes commitment to work a bunch of shitty jobs and believe you can write books and not starve. But by god, Ron Currie Jr. is not starving, and we should all feel good about that. All RC Jr. is doing is winning awards and selling books, and pushing himself (and his narratives) into new places. It pays to get dangerous sometimes. Everything Matters! is about to drop in paperback, and those of you who were too cheap to buy it in hardcover oughta pry a few bucks out of your wallet and buy the PB release.

Here’s a transcript of a conversation we had recently involving a wide range of topics, including books, writing, idealism, cynicism, and the Fitzgerald blues….


This thing–actually, a very similar jighead which differed from this one only in coloration–hit me squarely in the right eyeball on Tuesday afternoon. At high velocity. And by high velocity I don’t mean I popped it out of a tree and it drifted down in a slow, lazy arc and bounced harmlessly off my eyelid. Nor do I mean that a largemouth leapt from the water and spit the jighead in a slow, lazy arc which terminated at my eye, and I went “Ow” and rubbed at the sore spot and everyone had a good laugh at my expense.

I mean: High. Velocity. As in, the jighead was being cast when my eyeball interrupted its flight. There was no arc, lazy or otherwise. And I can’t give a MPH figure, but I will suggest an experiment you could do at home to appoximate the sensation I experienced at the moment of impact. Because we can all use a little more empathy, right?

So give this a shot: Stand with your back against any available wall. Tape your eyelid securely open, with packing tape or the like. Next, have a friend whip a penny at your exposed eyeball from two feet away, hard as he can. And you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.

At first I was pretty convinced I was going to have to be fitted for a glass eye. Okay, that’s not true. That thought came second. The first thought was something like this: “AAAAAAAAGGGGGRRRRRMOTHERFUCKWHATTHEFUCKWASTHATOHFUCKIVEGOTAFUCKINGHOOKINMYEYESHIT!”

But I did not, in fact, have a hook in my eye. I had nothing in my eye. Near as the optometrist could tell, in what turned out to be an unreasonably painful stroke of good luck the jighead itself had impacted my eyeball, then bounced out before the hook became part of the proceedings. And thank whatever god exists, because otherwise, best case scenario, instead of writing this I’m sitting on my sofa with half my head wrapped in gauze, having just had my retina surgically reattached.

But it wasn’t an immediate sense of relief, there, in the moment. Because even though the pain subsided and the boat hadn’t capsized and I managed to retrieve my rod from the water where I’d dropped it, there was still one small problem: I couldn’t see a fucking thing out of my right eye.

Again, an experiment you can try at home to get a feel for where I was at: take a normal, transparent drinking glass. Fill it with skim milk. Hold it up to your eye and try to see through it.

“Do you want to go back?” one of my companions asked.

No, I didn’t. I’d been looking forward to this for a while, and the fishing had been bad so far and I wanted to give it a chance to get better. But there was the whole problem with not being able to see. And it was getting worse. The skim had quickly thickened to 2%, and I was having a hard time keeping my balance in the bow.

The water is warmer by this time of year, but not warm enough.

So I said okay, let’s go back.

Because I’ll be honest with you, by now I was a little freaked out. I don’t like doctors, and I like giving them money even less, but the idea of just waiting it out in the woods until my eye swelled to the point where I looked like this


didn’t really appeal. Plus of course I had no idea if this blindness thing was time-sensitive, if by waiting for it to correct itself I would be wasting time the doctors needed to fix things. Seemed unlikely, but this was one of only two eyes I’ve been alotted, remember. Plus I’ve done that in the past–let something go for a day or two or five, hoping it would just sort of magically fix itself, and when I finally showed up at the ER the doctors always just looked at me like, “What the fuck do you expect me to do now?”

So we brought the boat in and packed everything up and headed back to civilization. Civilization, in this case, being defined as a place where optometrists outnumber deer. And by the time we’d made an emergency appointment and got to the doctor’s office the sight in my right eye had mostly come back, and I was starting to feel like a pussy. The thing didn’t even look all that bad, except for a small dent at the point of impact. My only saving grace was when the exam revealed definite vision loss on the right. Nothing dramatic, but it was there. Other than that, though, everything was fine. Just some bruising, of both eyeball and ego, and a needlessly aborted fishing trip.

This last was the worst part, of course. Because every fisherman is a speculator, and every speculator is an inveterate optimist. Whenever the fishing is bad, you know it’s just about to get great. You’re always just about to turn the corner. If only you can stay on the water for another half hour.

It’s possible that I am way, way late to this particular party, that everyone else in the western world has seen both installments of “Man vs. Beast” a dozen times and that every time I enter a room people are waiting for me to leave so they can resume their secret (from me) conversations about the show. But I saw it for the first time last night, and assuming there are other culture vultures out there with the same elephant-sized gap in their knowledge base, some context (and yes, the above photo of forty-odd midgets trying desperately to move a jetliner is completely relevant, though if anyone is looking for an explanation as to why the midgets seem to be color-coded you’ll have to go elsewhere, as that is beyond the scope of my (admittedly slight) “M v. B” knowledge):

1. Spending all your downtime at the bar is, at once, the absolute best and absolute worst thing you can do.

2. Tom’s of Maine natural deodorant does not stand up to the pressure of meeting, every two minutes, a new person who seems to quite casually wield the power to make or break your embryonic career.