The gym in which I waste time after wearing a tie all day has a weight room on the second floor with a balcony overlooking the entryway cafe. Today while men in wife beaters posed like Jesus distributing fish over bench-pressing yoga pants, a mockingbird flew in from downstairs and became trapped, tapping high at floor-to-ceiling windows, bashing its head against the sunroof, railing and railing against the glass then landing to gather itself on light fixtures and girders before setting off again in desperation. I was in there for an hour mostly trying to figure out how I could get out of wearing a tie every day until I die, and the bird was still trapped when I left. Stupid little thing. If only it had flown down a level instead of constantly trying to go up, it might have saved itself.
These are doodles from my notebook. I’ve found that drawing them actually helps me focus. I’m prone to fidgeting and daydreaming and existential spirit-questing, so the act of making these has become a kind of grounding ritual.
Plus, they remind me that not every detail has to be perfect. If you’re deliberate and consistent, the end result is solid. This is reassuring, because when I’m writing a novel, my tendency is to fuss over every crumb of diction. I’ve edited this post four times now.
I haven’t been very present online lately, but that’s because I’m tucked away tinkering with a new project. It’s a kind of quasi-animated storybook not unlike what the show Reading Rainbow used to do with children’s books back in the day. Only… my story’s a smidge darker. Here’s a little taste while you wait:
So the coffee shop I write in has been playing Christmas music for the past few weeks. Nothing out of the ordinary there, except that occasionally, in the midst of all the yuletide cheer, I’d suddenly find myself struck with STRANGE EMOTIONS. Courage, American pride, and… an urgency to check my Tamagotchi? What could be the meaning of this?
Taking advantage of this opportunity to procrastinate, I threw all of my efforts into pinpointing what tune was triggering these uncanny emotions. Eventually, I found it.
Consider the following riff:
Now, it took much pondering and digging, but I finally deduced what this handful of notes was rattling against somewhere deep in the cellars of my mind. Yes, this socially-conscious wintery anthem unintentionally summoned the very same emotions I felt the first time I encountered this as a middle schooler circa 1999:
And so the mystery was solved.
Except not quite.
For while Army Men: Sarge’s Heroes is undoubtedly a nostalgic masterpiece that would tug at the star-spangled heartstrings of even the most ardent anti-jingoist, it alone could not account for the raw surge of unbridled patriotism I experienced every time “Do They Know It’s Christmas” played through the coffee shop speakers.
Until I realized that, underneath the screeching eagles and billowing flags, I was also feeling a lingering wisp of we-should-have-listened-to-Jeff-Goldblum-from-the-start.
No… It can’t be…
Yes, my friends:
Some may say it’s a coincidence, but I believe I may have stumbled upon the most far-reaching Christmas conspiracy ever to be unraveled. I’m well aware that I take my life in my own hands by distributing this information, but the people should know.
The people must know.