My Associations Really Aren’t All That Loose


STALE BOOZE, SWEAT, TOBACCO, and the crude stench of sexual tension produces a drowsy effect for me. I’m an addict, and it was not all that unusual for me to find myself at the local gentlemen’s pub. At mid-afternoon, they really are the quietest places to have a drink, a drink to wash away the lackluster memories of the day. All the regulars squint when someone walks in. Not because it’s someone like you, or someone like me. They don’t notice shit like that. Not in this place. It’s a backyard sinkhole, a burned out old dump for some, a place where you could try on all sorts of lives for others. I liked to sit here in the dim light and stare through all the oddly shaped glass at the mural of Acapulco on the wall behind the bar. I don’t know, the place has sort of a death row appeal to it. Everybody’s just putting in their time, waiting it out in the dark. Not like those snooty grass-fed dilettantes with their jetliner smiles and their natural light, fresh flowers, and diplomatic Bombay Sapphire martinis. We lack the palate for that sort of thing. We prefer the toxic shit served straight up by an atheist hooker in gold lamé pants who goes by the name Penny Chic. When she could say her name without coughing up a hunk of phlegm, that is. That’s how we swallow it down. It isn’t glamorous, but if you’ve fallen off the beaten path, or you’ve just been beaten off the path, this is as good a place as any to end up. It’s a place where you can just sit a spell in silence and listen to the rustling of palm fronds in the balmy wind. – And Death Dreamt Us All


Maybe it’s the concept of meaning I struggle with most when I’m writing, that feeling of distance, of perspective, of magnifying glasses and minutia. Not a greater/wider possible interpretation of the work — the deliberately implied meaning — but what the work meant to me, subconsciously, as I was writing it. The Why in why I chose to write a particular story: my affectedness magnified, run through a Kandinsky filter, and then wrapped around a lie.

That’s some scary stuff right there: admitting that a personal thrust might exist in a work we consider fiction.

A loose thread.

A flake of skin.

An eyelash …

Or even a bit of fingernail we bit off and spat out somewhere in the story. We all do it to a degree, and I think that’s what resonates in fiction. We are not the work, but somewhere in the make-believe — in the small and dusty oft-overlooked spaces — an association was made, one that connects a truth and a lie. One that contains a palpable reality and all the dark dirty emotional detritus contained therein. That comes from us, the writer, and we shouldn’t be afraid to own it.


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