Interview with a Cracked Mirror

For F. Scott Fitzgerald

I am a crack-up, an impractical joke that breaks the joker, splintering him into quizzical fragments. I am the laughter that bursts into tears, a contagious hysteria subliming the body’s derangements into riddled ecstasies. I am the cracks of a broken mirror glued together by delirium – whoever looks into this fractured glass will be unspeakably unselfed, shattered beyond any mother’s recognition. I am a falling-down life, barely held together by sticky addictions. I am a shivering emptiness briefly echoing life’s fugitive loves and hates before time’s amnesic wind blows away all memories and forgettings. I am the ragged polyp-phoney of a dissonant improvisation, the unfinal unresting place of an interminable dialogue – the living and the dead’s futile striving for some illusory destiny. But there’s still time before the pain-ultimate shuddering to snatch some shiny shards, some moving detritus from the irreversible shattering that is time.

Egyptian Proverb: The worst things:
To be in bed and sleep not.
To want for one who comes not.
To try to please and please not.

Writers’ Proverb: The best worst things:
To be in bed and sleep not.
To want for one who comes not.
To try to please and please not.

Every morning before wrestling with words, he had to grapple with his penis first.

The genealogy of writing: In the beginning, boredom bore thinking – which makes writing boredom’s bastard grandchild.

When I desire someone, I strive to insinuate myself into him – I want to be a sly worm in his blood, a secret virus in his imagination. Because I write to seduce you, I lace my words with infectious dis-ease.

I am an imaginary precipice. I look and look and look over the edge in horror – I can’t tear myself away from my darkness’ susurrus.

Though he was constantly sawing and hammering with pencil and paper to make mobile homes for his transient selves, he could never build them fast enough.

If you slow a moment down enough, you can pack several lifetimes into it.

I talk with the authority of failure . . .

Failure made him taciturn just when he finally had something interesting to say.

Drifting lazily toward oblivion, the bored crave catastrophe – at least disaster relieves ennui.

The dreams he remembered were always black-and-white – he was ashamed that most movies he’d seen were more vivid. But, without admitting it to himself, he was also proud of his monochrome fantasy life – it proved (he liked to believe) that his “real life” was in living technicolor.

Writing is like speaking into a dead telephone and trying to talk somebody into existence on the other side.

The writer’s eighth commandment: Never lie to protect yourself. (Of all the passions, fear is the most poisonous to art.)

Flayed by desire, exquisitely tender, he stitched himself a snaky skin, a scaly covering of words.

How will I find my way out of this roaring maze?
A clue: Tragedy will take you in, but comedy will bring you out. (Act!)

He fell in love like a drowning man - no lover could stay afloat in his thirst’s unpacific ocean.

Because his own desire terrified him, his wanting always swerved into wanting to know.

To use one’s mother tongue as if it were a foreign language.

A mind without barbarians cannot conquer new frontiers.

The man who knows too little has more thrilling – and funnier – adventures than the man who knows too much.

Love’s hook: it makes even misery interesting.

Inertia is life’s most intractable problem.

A cunning escape artist, he used his picklock pencil to break out of all kinds of tricky cages. But outside his keywords rusted, crumbled; the only way he could break the silence was to keep on writing himself – perverse Houdini – in and out of devious cages of his own devising.

The good create, the bad imitate.

He observed his own disintegration with the passionate dispassion of a cosmic atomist.

The quiet ones especially succumb readily to the caresses of words.

His motherless tongue burned with an ambitious orphan’s fury.

The poverty of common sense:
     It tranquilizes the mind.
     Fools unthinkingly agree.
     Guaranteed conversation-stopper.
     It goes without saying. (Everybody’s always saying it.)
     Your dead mother would approve.

His mind was a swirling polyphony of strange voices. Whenever he opened his mouth, he never knew what would whirl out.

Most people are desperate to be saved from their own confusion – they’ll grab anything that floats above the chaos of their minds. For someone drowning in doubt, any belief – as long as it’s inflated enough – will do.

A leaky sentimentalist, his emotions oozed obscenely from his cracks and orifices.

I’m searching for a singular passion – eccentric vector – to snatch me from my circular obsessions.

I remember best when I forget myself.

I still haven’t discovered a compelling alternative to silence – perhaps that’s why I can’t stop babbling.

He was born running. Lately, he’s even been inventing pursuers to keep himself on the move.

He wondered if writing was also a way of avoiding himself, because as soon as he picked up a pencil, he became a rowdy crowd.


Journal of a Pointless Life.
Wore Out His Welcome.
“Your Cake.”
Jack a Dull Boy.
Dark Circles.
Talks to a Drunk.
Birds in the Bush.
Travels of a Nation.
Don’t You Love It?
All Five Senses.
Thumbs Up.

Book of burlesque entitled These My Betters.
Title for a bad novel: God’s Convict.
Skin of His Teeth.
Result – Happiness.
Police at the Funeral.
The District Eternity.


Diary of a Dead Man
My Mother’s Dresses
Eating Is Believing
Jack’s Corner
Parabolic Passions
On the Other Hand
Gypsy Hearts
Saint Pervert
5½ Senses
Slow Motion Commotion
Forgettings: A Memoir
The Odysseus Complex
The Seven Skins of Memory
Joy’s Decoys
The Dildo Factory
Manila Envelops

From a little distance one can perceive confusion in what at the time seemed order.

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