Dec 31, 2014

Last words of the year --- This is heaven

Just writing (last words of the year in the This-Is-Heaven manuscript, we're in Chapter 29, the boys prepping Godehart for the debate of the third day of the festival):

“Where did you get these undies?” Maurice asks.

Ben wears different briefs today, not the muchacho graffiti, but a pattern-repeat design of naked men in celibate poses printed Delft-blue on a white background. “Oohh,” Ben says, walks stiffly up to the counter. Godehart follows his every movement, the tight procession of the bubble butt, the spiel of Ben’s triceps as he works the percolator can, a stray ray of sun meandering on his skin (not to mention the effortless stretch of his abs under the band of the wallpaper briefs).

“Where did you get these undies?” Maurice repeats.
“Bonus payment,” Ben answers.

Design by Alessio Slonimsky

He disappears in my chamber, returns with a slip of paper, check-size, hands it to me. "Three thousand dollars," I read. "Name field blank. We can cash it immediately."
"Oohh," Ben says.

These were a few words from the second part of the GREEN EYES. And you know what? Part I is available as ebook now, here, under this link:

Night Owl Reviews

Dec 25, 2014

Dec 24, 2014

Jamie 1.0 (teaser)

Today, our new flash story appeared on the pages of Gay Flash Fiction. Here's a teaser: 


“I’m married to this gentleman,” I say to the immigration officer on SFO and point at Chang behind the yellow line. She beams at us and waves him forward. Some court has just overturned California’s ban on gay marriage.
“You’ll be staying in the city, right?”
“The first few days.”
“If you like go places, you must have lunch at the River’s End. You know the Russian River? She draws a map on a sheet of immigration paper.


We rent a cheap place in Guerneville (on the Russian River), an hour and a half north of the city. I’m working on my book, Chang is tending to the kitchen garden we inherited from previous tenants.


The weather is California-perfect and I’m sitting on the porch. I get up at 4 AM to write and can’t concentrate in the afternoon. The place next door is (even) more run-down than ours. And makes angry noises. It moans and cusses with the voice of a middle-aged woman---about---Jamie. A boy sits on a camping chair outside. His face is blank. He gets up and disappears.


Repeat, basically, for several days or weeks. We’ve met the woman in the meantime. We talked once, which was a mistake, we’re her enemies too, now.


“Jamie is a sweet name,” I say to Chang, “she must have loved him once.”

For the full story, follow the link. NB: The first paragraph is true-true. This really happened to us on our arrival in San Francisco this spring.

Dec 19, 2014

The view this evening (Glenn)

(No, actually---not the view this evening. This is a sky picture showing how the Andromeda Galaxy, the nearest galaxy outside the Milky Way, would appear to our eyes if it were bright enough. It's roughly 1 million light years away and ca. 100,000 light years across, almost twice as large as the Milky Way, our own galaxy.)

Dec 12, 2014

Gallery (23) (Sadao Hasegawa)

Sadao Hasegawa (1996)

(We discovered Sadao Hasegawa today; it's an incredibly intense Japanese artist, who committed suicide in 1999)

(More art on the Gallery Page)

Dec 8, 2014

Arresting Justin Bieber --- Write a novel see the world (1)

(Update: and while we are at it, here's Justin's lastest picture:)

Anything more we have to say about Justin, a fragment perhaps? We mention him once in the Green Eyes, but in our first novel, Freedom Fries, he gets a serious literary treatment. Here it is:

Context: Pamela Woods, the Dean of Berkeley Law school is busy conspiring against one of her faculty member, John Yoo, the author of the Bush-era torture memos. And Justin Bieber jr? That's her vice dean. And---spoiler alert---the scene is set on the day of Justin Bieber's breakthrough: 

  She collects the secret phone---Zack could call any minute now---hides it in her bag, and leaves the office. She will take up position in the lobby, where she will play the Populist Dean. The populist dean is expected of her anyhow, occasionally, and her performance is not without merit (despite mixed reviews), especially on Friday afternoons when people want to go home early, an inclination she applauds with one hand and dismisses with the other. Anyhow, there she stands, expansive as always (not always, only since twenty years), dispensing kisses, Hi’s, compliments (“you look great”), compliments (“you look great”), feedback (“we missed you at the budget meeting, where were you”), more compliments (“where did you get that tan?”), as her academic subjects are drifting toward TGI weekend.

Berkeley Law School, west side

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Pamela is waiting for Yoo to go home to his wife and two children, his wife the estranged daughter of the Pulitzer prize winning face of the first gulf war, Peter Arnett, his children the estranged grandchildren of the Pulitzer prize winning face of the first gulf war, at least, that’s how she assumes Yoo’s family works. But perhaps she is wrong, Arnett looms large in her own life since it had been him, the CNN correspondent in Baghdad, who had watched over her final fall from svelteness during one month of uninterrupted couch attendance in the run-up to the war. Tragically, she was on sabbatical leave at that time; planning to write another law book, she had turned down visiting appointments elsewhere and was stuck in front of the TV with an excessive supply of macaroons and productive procrastination. She had gained twenty additional pounds when the war was over, twenty pounds that had tipped the balance of her life.

Parking garage of Berkeley Law

She has already sent six faculty, twelve students, and three staff into the weekend when Vice Dean Bieber descends the stairs. A small, middle-aged man of nondescript appearance, Justin Bieber Jr. is the son of Justin Bieber Sr. and the father of Justin Bieber III. She opens her arms wide---he is scared of big women and will keep a certain distance. “How’s going,” she cheers, “haven’t seen you in fifteen minutes.”
“Great, Pamela, great going,” Bieber replies, “I’ve just taken a few minutes off my vice-deanly obligations to check on my blog.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, I didn’t have a chance to catch up with your blog recently, but I promise.”

Dec 5, 2014

Writers (Cathy Ulrich)

I've never understood why some writers write stories about writers because if we're really that interesting, why are we going around making up stories all the time?

"And then I picked up my quill pen and began to write this phrase: 'And then I picked up my quill pen...'."
"And then I picked up my quill pen and began to write this phrase: 'And then I picked up my quill pen...'."

(reblogged from Cathy's blog Hollywood Hates Me)

Dec 2, 2014

The Golden Century --- Connubial bliss

Prologue. The Golden Century is an all-you-can-eat oriental restaurant located right next to the landing strip of the Cannes-Mandelieu airfield. If there's any magic to proximity, and if there's any proximity to Hollywood, it’s here. From Brad Pitt to George Clooney to Benedict Cumberbatch, they’ve all been dozens of time inside a two hundred yard circle centered upon the main buffet of the Golden Century. This is the spot where private-jet celebrities touch down on their way to the Festival de Cannes.

The main buffet of the Golden Century

Act I. I had been there once, by sheer coincidence, a few minutes before the place opened for the first time at 7 PM on a nondescript weekday. The doors were already unlocked, I entered unsuspectingly. The place was empty, except for a few nervous waiters and an interior design so intense in its lacquered combination of Formica wood and red lanterns that I fainted.

Dec 1, 2014

Nov 27, 2014

“I can almost write like Mr. Johann Sebastian Bach” --- seven things we knew about Ernest Hemingway

The New Yorker sends a link to an article by Lillian Ross about Ernest Hemingway (H.), published in 1950.

We’re curious, we don’t know much about H., having read him when everybody else read him, The Old Man and the Sea in our case, in a German translation. We’ve been to Key West, FL, where everything is H., and got fed up with Sloppy Joe, his watering hole there, so decided to get drunk somewhere else (we’re possibly not the first to mention tourism and locust in the same sentence).

So, what we knew about him was

(0) writer of short sentences, user of simple language, herald of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain’s novel), in-quote: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn. American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since.”
(1) macho,
(2) Nobel Prize,
(3) lookalike contests,
(4) big game hunting,
(5) drink,
(6) serial husband, perhaps something of a womanizer.

Who messed up Thanksgiving (Sacha)

Nov 24, 2014

Palais de Justice

We're in litigation with our wayward bank and today we'll finally have our day in court, in Grasse, Alpes-Maritimes, way station on Napoleon's Route Napoleon during the "100 days" that ended in Waterloo. Grasse is the world capital of fragrances and the locale of Patrick Süskind's The Perfume, the story of a hypersensitive nose attached to Ben Whishaw who needs the bodily fluids of 12 virgins to complete his mission as the greatest perfume-maker of all time. Grasse is also the seat of The Tribunal de Grande Instance, our court.

Grasse is set on the flanks of the Alpes and built around hair needle turns devoid of any spacial logic, so you're sure to lose your way, especially when you're told by your lawyer that the directions are "bien indiquées," meaning that you're directed off the main road long before you reach the town, arrows pointing this way and that way until they stop pointing and you're on your own in the middle of a Mediterranean jungle of gas stations, low-grow brush ("marais"), utilities, perfume makers, quarries, and the urgent need to pass water since (you got up too early and drank coffee too much).[1]

Nov 9, 2014

Lord Byron, Bill Clinton, etc --- Venice (4)

It's been a year since we've been in Venice, and now we've hit upon this beautiful picture by Hannes Steinert, depicting, you know of course ...

Spot the anachronism

... depicting the Lido of Venice. All this while we are excerpting a biography about Lord Byron providing deeper insight into his sex life, including his life in Venice (spoiler alert: self-serving ellipsis ahead)---Byron will feature in the second part of our episodic novella "The Grand Tour"---John and Alex from the Green Eyes finally marry and are off to Europe where they end up at the feet of the Fountain of Geneva whose story they learn from Richard Zugabe, librarian of the Geneva City Archives and owner of an apartment in the Villa Diodati nearby. Right, that's the first chapter of "The Grand Tour" which segues into a tryst at Zugabe's place and evokes the narrative material about Byron who had rented the villa in 1816 & who looked EXACTLY like Bill Clinton & who had apparently left a cache of manuscripts behind the wood paneling of his bedroom---for Richard Zugabe to discover.

The young Bill Clinton---sorry, just kidding, "George Gordon, 6th Lord of Byron," William Edward West, (1822)

Pedro Palanca's anniversary

It would be Pedro's 46th anniversary today. He was one of the greatest---the sheer vitality of his pictures, coupled with an unique sense of humor. And the sex, of course. Pedro, we won't forget you!

Nov 5, 2014

Locker room politics (Tryg Verran) (reblogged)

A Whiter Shade of Pale by Procul Harum was the world n°1 song in 1967 (scroll down for the UTube clip (but not yet)).  Along those lines, this piece by Tryg Verran, here reblogged, is a Paler Shade of Dark, but it's not what you think, despite the misleading, circulation-seeking pictures (which are entirely our fault). Give it a try:

"Peeking man," Pedro Palanca

One of the perks of doing post graduate research here at Birkbeck university is that I have been able to join the University union gym in Bloomsbury. Not only is it a great central exercise space with an Olympic size pool, but it's packed with fresh-faced, lovely students; just to make this absolutely clear,

"Locker room," Paul Cadmus


True, time spent in the locker room getting changed with the UCL swimming team hasn't escaped my Gaydar, but there is something about listening to their banter that polarizes me. I'm not exactly sure why all of this seems so alien, is it because I'm older? Perhaps it's because I am no longer a full time resident of London? Maybe I am being a little insecure? Whatever the reason, as I eavesdrop their conversations I gleam little comfort from their glistening presence and I am conscious of a division.
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