Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I Didn't Give You A Proper Hump Day



This picture doesn't really do then justice. These guys aren't just hot, sexual objects. They are hot hot HOT. Click over and find out.

Via Sozo's Blog

Police Clear Occupy Camps in Philly and LA



Via NPR:

The Occupy L.A. campsite near Los Angeles' city hall is "in shambles" this morning after police moved in to clear out protesters who had been ordered to leave, the Los Angeles Times writes. Tents have been "uprooted and strewn all over," the newspaper says.

Our colleagues at KPCC, who were live-blogging through the night, report that more than 200 people were arrested during an operation that involved about 1,400 police officers. It appears the overwhelming show of force, plus a strategic decision by police to divide up the site into several sections rather than to confront protesters with one solid line of officers, kept things mostly peaceful.

On Morning Edition, KPCC's Frank Stoltz told host Renee Montagne that it was "a massive police operation." Many of those arrested resisted passively and were carried or led from the scene by officers.

Only a few protesters remain. They've climbed into trees. Police are using their bomb squad's "cherry picker" to reach up to get those individuals.

Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protesters had been camped out near L.A. city hall for two months. Some have vowed they will return to the site near city hall, the Times says.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia there have been more than 40 arrests at the Occupy protest site near city hall.

Click over for more links and audio.

I See What You Did With Your Gay Guitar



It's beefsteak when I'm working
It's whisky when I'm dry
It's sweet Heaven when I die

...but of all the little ways I've find to hurt myself
well you might be my favorite one of all.

WOW! Words have so much freaking power.

Good morning, y'all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Beau



How would including a hot stud with each purchase affect the car industry? We'll never know.

Image via Just a Jeep Guy <-- Yes, Sean, you get too nods this week. ;)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Beau



This it TOTALLY what I look like while reading.

*chuckles...not

Image via Just a Jeep Guy

It's Whisky



The most perfect song currently available in the 'verse. Lol

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Soundtrack to My Day: Together



Via Soundtrack to My Day possibly the best song I've heard via the Internet in forever!

Dreamed Memories



I think it must be my current state of exhaustion that is making me weepy about this.

Or just the unending sadness of it.

Imagine it...you are 5 and your mother who is the toast of literary France is hauled off by the Gestapo in 1942 and killed a month later. Then in your adult years your write...well...the above.

Lord! No wonder I'm weepy.

Read more at The Millions

NYT: 100 Notable Books of 2011

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NYT's 100 Notable Books of 2011

Proof That the Most Amazing Things...



...happen in high heels.

Sunday Sunday Beau



Via Cocks, Asses and More

What can I say? I typically wake up with the Mamas & the Papas stuck in my head. So enjoy the above and dream a little dream of him. :)

Books Are So Decorative



Look at these decorative tomes: don't they just look so dashing on these white shelves. One hardly need to look anywhere else in this lovely composition to see such beauty. ;)

Image via StudFarm

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Just Finished

Yes, indeed: why read Moby-Dick?

I finished this small (it clocks in at just under 130 pages) joy of a book (not Moby-Dick but Why Read Moby-Dick?) this weekend in a bubbly, hot bath. I like to think that a hot, bubbly bath is the perfect place to read books involving the sea, you see?

I read Moby-Dick in high school, and as with The Scarlet Letter, we students were directed to skip this spot and gloss over that spot, but now I see that was wrong to do...yes, that catalog of cetaceans is supposed to be funny.

It is not at all suprising that most people do not like to read when high school books and teachers tend to take out the funny, joyful parts of the great books. For example, I was quite surprised to find many, many parts of Dickens' Great Expectations actually laugh out loud funny. You wouldn't know it from the edited version we read in high school.

So...

Why Read Moby-Dick?



To write timelessly about the here and now, a writer must approach the present indirectly. The story has to be about more than it at first seems. Shakespeare used the historical sources of his plays as a scaffolding on which to construct detailed portraits of his own age. The interstices between the secondhand historical plots and Shakespeare's startingly original insights into Elizabethan England are what allow his work to speak to us today. Reading Shakespeare, we know what it is like, in any age, to be alive. So it is with Moby-Dick, a novel about a whaling voyage to the Pacific that is also about America racing hell-bent toward the Civil War and so much more. Contained in the pages of Moby-Dick is nothing less than the genetic code of America: all the promises, problems, conflicts, and ideals that contributed to the outbreak of a revolution in 1775 as well as a civil war in 1861 and continue to drive this country's ever-contentious march into the future. This means that whenever a new crisis grips this country, Moby-Dick becomes newly important. It is why subsequent generations have seen Ahab as Hitler during World War II or as a profit-crazed deep-drilling oil company in 2010 or as a power-crazed Middle Eastern dictator in 2011.

So...have you read Moby-Dick?

What follows are two quotes from Moby-Dick, quoted by Philbrick in his book...which you should also read as well as Moby-Dick...and In the Heart of Sea which tells of the actual whale attack that Moby-Dick is based on and for which Philbrick won the Pulitzer...but two quotes that I think will appear as part of the epigram for my book(s)...whenever I write them.



"I love to sail forbidden seas and land on barbarous coasts."

"Methinks my body is but the lees of my better being. In fact take my body who will, take it I say, it is not me."

Anne McCaffrey Has Died

She apparently passed away on November 23.

Via GalleyCat:

Fantasy novelist Anne McCaffrey has passed away. She was 85 years old. GalleyCat confirmed the sad news with Random House this afternoon.

McCaffrey’s career began with Restoree in 1967. She went on to earn a dedicated following for her beloved series, Dragonriders of Pern. At her website, McCaffrey answered letters from dedicated fans through November. This GalleyCat editor will never forget reading her books as a middle-school kid. Share your memories in the comments section…

You can read her complete biography at her site. An excerpt: "Her first novel, Restoree, was written as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in s-f novels in the 50s and early 60s. It is, however, in the handling of broader themes and the worlds of her imagination, particularly the two series The Ship Who Sang and the fourteen novels about the Dragonriders of Pern that Ms. McCaffrey’s talents as a story-teller are best displayed."

On her blog, she offered this advice for aspiring writers: "First — keep reading. Writers are readers. Writers are also people who can’t not write. Second, follow Heinlein’s rules for getting published: 1. Write it. 2. Finish it. 3. Send it out. 4. Keep sending it out until someone sends you a check. There are variations on that, but that’s basically what works."

Click over for links to more information. :(

Friday, November 25, 2011

Anyone Feeling...



...more Islamic today after enjoying your Halal Turkeys courtesy of Butterball?

If you don't know Halal is the Islamic version of Kosher, and Butterball has been making their turkeys Halal - OBVIOUSLY - to convert us all to Islam!

Idiots!

Via NYMag

The Internet's most visible hater of Islam, Pamela Geller, is warning all Americans this Thanksgiving about a dastardly new force that's threatening the freedom of our holiday dinner tables: Butterball turkeys. According to Geller, in a column from The American Thinker, the turkey brand is forcing sharia law onto all of us by offering whole turkeys that are "certified halal." Geller is aghast: "In a little-known strike against freedom, yet again, we are being forced into consuming meat slaughtered by means of a torturous method: Islamic slaughter." Yet again!

What next: sugar-free candy in the stockings? And Kosher ham? Oh...wait a minute.

BTW, happy belated Thanksgiving to you all. I'm very thankful for all my readers and commenters. Love ya guys. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

AlterNet: To Change Our Country...



...We May Just Have to Change Ourselves

If we are going to contribute to this huge fight against unbridled global capitalism, we must accept the anxiety and uncertainty of doing things differently.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Seriously?


Yeah. Even she's saying it. Seriously?

Via NPR: L.A. Detectives Reopen Natalie Wood Death Inquiry

Homicide detectives have reopened their investigation of Natalie Wood's death nearly 30 years after the actress drowned in the waters off Southern California.

The renewed look at Wood's Nov. 29, 1981, death comes after detectives received new information about the case, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said Thursday.

No additional details were provided, but a detective planned to hold a news conference Friday, and anyone with information about the case was being asked to contact sheriff's officials.

Wood drowned after a night of partying with husband Robert Wagner and Brainstorm co-star Christopher Walken on the couple's yacht anchored off Santa Catalina Island. Her death was ruled an accident and it was determined that she had been drinking before her death.

A dinghy that had been attached to the couple's yacht, Splendor, was found in a Catalina cove.

Wood, a three-time Oscar nominee famous for roles in West Side Story, Rebel Without a Cause and other Hollywood hits, was 43 when she died.

The case has become one of Hollywood's most alluring mysteries. Wood's drowning sparked tabloid speculation that foul play was involved, but Wagner and Wood's sister have dismissed any suggestion there was foul play.

Laura Wood wrote in a biography on her sister, "What happened is that Natalie drank too much that night."

Wagner wrote in a 2009 autobiography that he blamed himself for his wife's death.

Phone and email messages to Wagner and Walken's publicists were not immediately returned.

Time to Put Up the Tree



Not a particularly good picture - damn back lighting - but Kentucky Utilities has put up their annual big ass tree. Eventually huge drag queen-esque baubles will be hanging from it.

You go girl!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Congratulations, Nikky Finney!


Image via A Different Stripe (Nikky is second from the left.)

Congratulations, Nikky, on your National Book Award win! :)

Beau: Washed Out



O - M - G, you are gorgeous!

Give him a listen over on NPR's World Cafe

Thank you


Gallatin Mountain, Montana

Thanks to a very special gift from a wonderful person (you know whom you are), I will very soon be much more free to blog and reply to comments and to chat. Give me a few days to get myself sitchiated, and I'm there. :)

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly



Image via NPR

This image makes me so happy for several different reasons. :)

Is That a Book on Your Shelf...

...or are you just happy to see me?

Via the NYT

To expose a bookshelf is to compose a self. The artist Buzz Spector’s 1994 installation "Unpacking My Library" consisted of all the books in his library, arranged "in order of the height of spine, from tallest to shortest, on a single shelf in a room large enough to hold them." Shortly after the 2008 election, a bookstore in New York set out 50-odd books to which Barack Obama had alluded in memoirs, speeches and interviews. The resulting collection revealed more about the president-elect than did any number of other displays of books by and about him.

NB: The link for "50-odd books to which Barack Obama" is not actually the 50-odd books mentioned. I couldn't find that list and settled for his Summer 2010 reading list.

Dorli Rainey 84, Pepper Sprayed During Occupy Seattle Protest

The People's Library not so SAFELY stored



Via The Maddow Blog

Librarian Mandy Henk, one of the volunteers at the Occupy Wall Street People's Library, called in this morning to tip us off to the news that six volunteers went to the Sanitation Department as directed to pick up the thousands of books and other materials that were seized when Zuccotti Park was raided. And... that tweet from NYC Mayor Bloomberg's office notwithstanding, here's what they found:

"There are only about 25 boxes of books; many of the books are destroyed. Laptops here but destroyed. Can’t find tent or shelves....Many books destroyed. Most equipment -and structures missing. . . most of library is missing (ALL of the reference section btw), damaged or destroyed."


The thing about librarians is, they're organized. They went to the Department of Sanitation armed with a list of what was taken. Mandy says the Sanitation Department told the librarians to come back tomorrow to see if more books turn up from the garbage pile. But even if more do, Mandy cautions, those books are not likely to be usable.

Ummm, Mayor Bloomberg? Do you really want to run afoul of librarians?

UPDATE: The People's Library has now gone mobile.

And The Winners Are



Salvage the Bones for Fiction



Kentucky poet (and one of my favorite peeps) Nikky Finney won for Poetry. (WOW! And to think that I've been threatened with haunting by a National Book Award winner.)



Swerve for Nonfiction

And of course barnesandnoble.com wasted no time in getting the National Book Award Winner "sticker" on the online images of these books. LOL

Read more via NPR

The 62nd annual National Book Awards were held in the gilded, columned confines of Cipriani Wall Street, not far from the economic protests of the past two months.

"I thought I should point out, since nobody else has," said poet Ann Lauterbach, who introduced Ashbery, "that we are occupying Wall Street."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The National Book Awards Are Tonight

Thanks to GalleyCat for pointing this out. Do you know the contenders in Fiction?

Via NPR

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak

A mother flings her child into a freezing river — not to kill him, but to save him. It's this act, riddled with ambiguities, marked by great love and great violence, that opens and sets the tone of The Sojourn, a slim, brutal fiction debut from Andrew Krivak, author of The Long Retreat, a memoir of his years in the Jesuit order.

After a devastating tragedy, the Vinich family abandons its efforts to make a life in a small Colorado mining town and returns home to rural Austria-Hungary. When World War I breaks out, the Vinich boys enlist as sharpshooters in the kaiser's army. They endure a trek across the frozen Alps and, later, are captured by their enemy. Based on the author's own family history and encompassing divided familial and national loyalties, a fracturing Europe and an aborted American dream, The Sojourn is a harrowing read leavened by the assurance and beauty of Krivak's prose.

The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

The wunderkind 26-year-old Tea Obreht had one of the splashiest literary debuts of the year. The author, born in the former Yugoslavia and now based in New York, was named one of the New Yorker's 20 Under 40 writers, and her novel, The Tiger's Wife, garnered her the Orange Prize — much worldly success for a book whose charm is decidedly so otherworldly and, in its own way, so subversive.

When a young doctor named Natalia Stefanovic begins to investigate the death of her beloved grandfather, she finds clues in, of all things, his beloved, battered copy of The Jungle Book and in the folk stories he used to tell her. Obreht juxtaposes straightforward stories from the present — of Natalia inoculating war orphans — with fabulous contemporary fairy tales, giving us an alternative history of the Balkans told through myth, magic and allegory.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

Julie Otsuka's highly anticipated follow-up to When the Emperor Was Divine is a group portrait of Japanese "picture brides," young women who traveled by boat to California in the 1900s to marry men they had only corresponded with. It's a classic immigration story — struggles to master a new language and culture are followed by the heartbreak of children who reject old customs. But there's a twist: The women recount their story collectively and with all the power and fury of a Greek chorus ("This is America, we would say to ourselves, there is no need to worry. And we would be wrong").

Trained formally as a painter, Otsuka brings precision and subtlety to her description of the picture brides' efforts to survive their marriages to strangers, the backbreaking labor in the fields or in the kitchens of their white employers — and the final indignity of internment during World War II.

Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories by Edith Pearlman

Featuring 18 prize-winning stories and 13 new ones, this story collection is a capstone of a celebrated career. Edith Pearlman, recent winner of the PEN/Malamud Award, takes readers around the world and through history — czarist Russia, the London Blitz, present-day Manhattan — returning to relish her pet characters (the laconic New Englander, cultivated Europeans) and themes (motherhood, diaspora). Although Pearlman's work has consistently been lauded in the Best American Short Story anthologies, she has flown under the radar. These stories — her finest from three previous collections — are small miracles of observation and empathy, and the collection is both a fine introduction and a tribute to Pearlman's body of work.

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Set in a fictional town in Mississippi 10 days before Hurricane Katrina struck, this fierce novel explores the responses of a poor black family on the verge of destruction. The coming of the storm gives the book an innate, propulsive pace, and the pitch-perfect collisions of character and fate endow it with the scope and impact of classical tragedy. The protagonist, 14-year-old Esch, is unforgettable, as canny and observant as any of Carson McCullers' heroines and blessed with a singular gift for making language all her own. Author Jesmyn Ward has been celebrated for her essays and one previous novel, Where the Line Bleeds, but Salvage the Bones is poised to be her big breakout book.

The Tiger's Wife is actually my favorite to win. I've yet to read it, but it got very a very good review from a coworker who was placing copies in the hands of as many people as possible. The only other title I'm familiar with is Salvage the Bones - and by familiar with I mean, I checked it in when we first got it.

Return to Zuccotti Park



Via NY Daily News:

The tents are gone but the protest lives on.

Occupy Wall Street demonstrators vowed to return in force to Zuccotti Park Wednesday and regroup their fractured movement as they faced the first full day since their eviction from Zuccotti Park.

Also, How Bloomberg's Plans at Zuccotti will backfire

Also, the crackdown on Occupiers followed a conference call between 18 mayors. Apparently no such crackdown is in the work for Lexington. Granted we have about 2 people occupying Chase Bank Wall Street here at all times, but on the weekends and evenings this does sometime swell up to 20 or so.

Yeah...we suck when it comes to activism.

US Tax Policies and Income Inequality



Via NPR

"Almost without exception, every proposal put forth by GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates is intended to preserve or expand tax privileges for the wealthiest Americans," writes Rolling Stone political correspondent Tim Dickinson. "Most of their plans, which are presented as commonsense measures that will aid all Americans, would actually result in higher taxes for middle-class taxpayers and the poor."

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Book Not to Be Missed: Sophie Blackall's Missed Connections



Via Missed Connections

Messages in bottles, smoke signals, letters written in the sand; the modern equivalents are the funny, sad, beautiful, hopeful, hopeless, poetic posts on Missed Connections websites. Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I'm trying to pin a few of them down.

Here is a sampling of the m4m Missed Connections that Blackall illustrates. (However, my favorite couldn't be found on the web. It is of the two men who visit the whale at Coney Island.)



Of the images I can find online, this is my favorite one from the book:

Thursday, March 12, 2009
-m4m (East Village)
Phoenix w/ crutches
I would love to carr you around piggy back until you can walk again...











And be sure to click over and visit Ms. Blackall's blog and see more of her work.

This is WRONG



Via NPR's The Two-Way

Saying that "the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protestors and to the surrounding community," [BULLSHIT!] New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered the clearing of Zuccotti Park early today.

The privately owned park has been the nerve center of the Occupy movement — a loosely organized collection of people who are angry about the wide wealth, income and power gaps between America's richest 1 percent and everyone else. Over recent months, Occupy has spread to other cities across the nation and to some foreign capitals. The move by New York officials follows similar actions in other cities, including Portland, Ore., and Oakland over the weekend.

Starting around 1 a.m. ET, police cleared the area in lower Manhattan so that sanitation crews could begin a clean up of the site, where for about two months Occupy Wall Street protesters have been camped and which had become filled with tents, tarps and sleeping bags. The NY1 news channel says an estimated 200 protesters were in the park at the time. There have been at least 70 arrests so far, but many protesters appeared to leave peacefully. (Update at 8:40 a.m. ET: Bloomberg just told reporters that about 200 arrests were made.)

According to The New York Times, before entering the area hundreds of police officers in riot gear "ringed the park and set up bright klieg lights, and protesters emerged bewildered out of their tents." An ultimatum was issued: Leave or face arrest. "Some protesters grabbed valuables and slipped away," the Times says. "But others — about 100 — resisted. They contracted into their own tight ring in the center of the park and locked elbows. Some even scrounged for thick bicycle locks and chained themselves together."

As police officers moved through the park, they cut tents and tarps down. Sanitation trucks took much of the material away. Protesters were told where they could go to retrieve any belongings left behind.

And, according to Bloomberg's statement, protesters were also told they can return to the site — but that they won't be allowed to set up a camp again.

"No right is absolute and with every right comes responsibilities," the [fascist] mayor's statement reads. "The First Amendment gives every New Yorker the right to speak out – but it does not give anyone the right to sleep in a park or otherwise take it over to the exclusion of others – nor does it permit anyone in our society to live outside the law. There is no ambiguity in the law here – the First Amendment protects speech – it does not protect the use of tents and sleeping bags to take over a public space."

But, Bloomberg added, the park was becoming "a health and fire safety hazard to the protestors and to the surrounding community. ... [And] I could not wait for someone in the park to get killed or to injure another first responder before acting."

Before this morning's move to clear the park, protesters had been planning a Thursday push to "shut down Wall Street," as New York's Daily News reports.

"It's still on. It'll be bigger than ever. People are mobilizing now. They're wounded now and preparing for comeback," protester Matt Baldwin told the Daily News.

At one Occupy Wall Street website, there's the vow that "we will reoccupy!" And there's a call for a 9 a.m. ET rally at Canal and 6th Avenue in Manhattan.

Freelance journalist Julie Walker, who was at the scene reporting for NPR, was swept up with some of those who were arrested. She just told our Newscast desk that it appears some of the protesters are already gathering for that rally.

There are some updates if you click over.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beau: Craig Thompson



OK. So you can't really see Craig Thompson in this photograph, but you can see that he IS working...shirtless!

Via habibi

habibi is Thompson new epic 700 page book, which is amazing, amazing, amazing. I don't want to gush too much, but it took me 2 days to read. 2 freaking days!

It typically takes me a week or two to read a book of 100 to 200 pages. THIS WAS 700 PAGES IN 2 DAYS!

I Want



I SO want to be this guy...honestly! I love Free Running and wish I knew how to do this.

Also, I want to apologize to you guys for being so quiet lately. It's been difficult to find time to blog or even to reply to comments.

But hopefully starting tomorrow, I'll start taking time during my lunch to do the thing I've been missing.

I Really Can't Stand This Woman!



Via NPR

Ayn Rand is best known for her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. The ideas behind them — her philosophy — have sunk so deeply into our political thought, most people don't even recognize them as her ideas anymore.

But Rand does have important admirers, like House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Recently, House Speaker John Boehner channeled Rand when he said, "Job creators in America basically are on strike."

If it were up to Ayn Rand, there would still be Whites-Only lunch counters, all of Appalachian would be flattened for more Wal-Marts, and there would be a slave class - however, that would not longer be based on race but your ability or inability to play the system. There would be no Occupy Everywhere people - they'd be too busy working 24 hours a day in shitty conditions. Oh, and I imagine Jerry Sandusky would've caused no outrage this past week either.

Founder of Naiad Press Dies at 78



Via NYT

Barbara Grier, a founder of one of the most successful publishing houses for books by and about lesbians, including a nonfiction chronicle about lesbian nuns that became a phenomenon after it drew complaints from Roman Catholic officials, died on Thursday in Tallahassee, Fla. She was 78.

The cause was lung cancer, said her partner, Donna McBride.

Ms. Grier became a revered figure to several generations of lesbian writers and readers after founding Naiad Press in 1973 with three other women, including Ms. McBride. Armed with just $3,000, they set out to publish books, as Ms. Grier later described them, “about lesbians who love lesbians, where the girl is not just going through a phase.”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday Review: We The Animals



I think that sometimes I type out these quotes from novels that I enjoy in the hopes that maybe the writing - not simply the writing in the particular section but possibly everything the author has ever written or will write - in the hopes that maybe the writing, the words, the style will become part of my own.

This is nowhere more true than with Justin Torres and We the Animals, the story of three brothers, Manny, Joel and our nameless narrator, growing up in upstate New York. Paps and Ma - he's Puerto Rican, she's white (Paps calls his sons "mutts") - love, fight, work, leave each other, come back and struggle to make a home for themselves and their sons. All the while, the brothers fight, call each other names, smash tomatoes all over themselves, make kites out of trashbags, cause mischief, play ball, share body heat, and take care of each other.

Over time and the course of the book, we learn that the youngest (our narrator) is gay, and it is this found fact that will change his life and his family forever.

Originally I was wary picking up this book. I knew I would, but my first experience of Justin Torres was a piece he did for NPR's "You Must Read This" program. His book that we must read? Jim Grimsley's Dream Boy.

Dream Boy is about two boys who meet and fall in love. If it were left at that, I'd have been just as happy. But one of the boys, the main character, is beaten and left for dead in a very vivid and emotionally intense section of the book. And I thought, well, Justin, if you are telling me to read that, what exactly am I going to find in your book? (FYI, the boy in Dream Boy recovers and he and his love skip town together.)

So with some trepidation on my part, I began We the Animals. The first and last paragraphs of the first chapter are below.

We wanted more. We knocked the butt ends of our forks against the table, tapped our spoons against our empty bowls; we were hungry. We wanted more volume, more riots. We turned up the knob on the TV until our ears ached with the shouts of angry men. We wanted more music on the radio; we wanted beats; we wanted rock. We wanted muscles on our skinny arms. We had bird bones, hollow and light, and we wanted more density, more weight. We were six snatching hands, six stomping feet; we were brothers, boys, three little kings locked in a feud for more. (1)

Always more, always hungrily scratching for more. But there were times, quiet moments, when our mother was sleeping, when she hadn’t slept in two days, and any noise, any stair creak, any shut door, any stifled laugh, any voice at all, might wake her, those still, crystal mornings, when we wanted to protect her, this confused goose of a woman, this stumbler, this gusher, with her backaches and headaches and her tired, tired ways, this uprooted Brooklyn creature, this tough talker, always with tears when she told us she loved us, her mixed-up love, her needy love, her warmth, those mornings when sunlight found the cracks in our blinds and laid itself down in crisp strips on our carpet, those quiet mornings when we’d fix ourselves oatmeal and sprawl onto our stomachs with crayons and paper, with glass marbles that we were careful not to rattle, when our mother was sleeping, when the air did not smell like sweat or breath or mold, when the air was still and light, those mornings when silence was our secret game and our gift and our sole accomplishment – we wanted less: less weight, less work, less noise, less father, less muscles and skin and hair. We wanted nothing, just this, just this. (2-3)

I found that my trepidation did not leave me. Paps and Ma's relationship seemed something akin to Stanley and Stella's in A Streetcar Named Desire with some pornorific beefy papi in place of Marlon Brando. The passion in the household was so hot that I felt that at any moment something, anything, or nothing could happen sending Paps or Ma or one of the boys in a rage.

Don't get me wrong: Paps and Ma are equally "abusive" to each other. It seems more as though it is their lives they're trying to escape rather than each other.

And so, the trepidation I felt never abated but it seemed like the trepidation one feels at the beginning of a relationship or, rather, in the middle when you and your love have already said the three words you long to hear and the sex is incredible. Things change. Boys grow up. Brothers grow apart. And sometimes being gay is a deeper chasm than one might expect.

And, finally, though know one is beaten and left for dead, We the Animals is as emotionally intense (and somewhat traumatic) as Dream Boy. Be prepared for this slim novel to cut you deeply.


Image via Hundreds of Ways


Image via Justin-Torres.com