:: Article

Helafizzles

By Greg Gerke.

Story beginning with dialogue: “I keep picturing your death, what it would do to me.”

Not an enigma that David Mamet made better art when he was a liberal.

Why do people accept things in novels and films more easily than straight talk with another, than the carping cultural critic voice, or, worse, the self-help voice? Because it’s easy to see one’s own problems in other people.

“The thing stopping me from fully loving you is you don’t listen.”

I like to smell my earwax. It smells…like me.

I’m sure no one would ever describe me as “so nice” in a third person conversation. Sure, I’m sure.

I waited until winter to watch Andrei Rublev.

“Remember that trip when you ate all the raisin bran and how we couldn’t stand to be around you?”

This all began with a Zukofsky poem.

Man at the cafe in Half Moon Bay is afraid of a young attractive woman — a local afraid of a local. Woman has spurs on her cowboy boots. I have never seen anyone wearing spurs in my life, and I once lived with a woman called Cowgirl. Man: balding with beer belly. Hands in pants.

Short story idea when watching Persona, but now it is gone. I think it had to do with people I know.

I hope when you are old you’ll read a Henry James novel and we will talk about it and I’ll remember that angry man I used to be, who thought this thought, and I’ll wonder, Why? Why, you mad fool, did you hope for something like this when old?

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by social media.

Nervous, I once asked Don DeLillo if kids had taunted him, calling him “Don Dildo.”

When I cry, my eyes burn. Does this happen to you?

Most people cheat on their lovers with another not because the other shines so bright, but because the lover dims. The heart wants twilight.

The three most annoying, disgusting people in the “Brooklyn Literary Scene” (men) all share the same initials, all pretend to like Gertrude Stein, and all lived in lower Manhattan, until one moved to Buffalo. Guy Davenport anointed these types and their ilk: “Elbow-swingers, snoops, sneaks, and the personality-challenged.”

New story beginning: “How does that carrot taste?” “Carroty.” Ben and Ruth had been together…

Emerson: Never read a book that isn’t at least a year old…in bed.

When good poets write better prose than poetry, end times have come.

Social media is a tool to make people cruel or more cruel, never less.

It’s been a long time since I made it through at least an hour of a very bad movie, but then I saw God’s Country with Philip Seymour Hoffman and a few other great actors. A week later I went through three hours of Margaret, Kenneth Lonergan’s film — shot in 2005, but released in 2011 due to studio/director wrangles about length and cuts. A film that starts off intriguing and becomes unbearable (best not to make the main character a total conceited, arrogant presence) (plus her name isn’t Margaret) (plus plus I’m reconsidering Anna Paquin’s acting abilities in The Piano), is more disheartening than just an all in all bad picture, like Smokey and the Bandit 2.

People love cell phones because they can keep people at a distance or manically reach out for them at any moment.

Love doesn’t just make you beautiful, it makes you shed hate.

Karma controls the lives of everyone, except the rich.

A child shows his fire engine, a fireman hides his feelings.

Do people really really really care if it’s nice outside when our lives take place on machines?

My agent told me my short story collection wouldn’t generate much interest, so I wrote a memoir and she said she hadn’t had a lot of luck selling those lately, so I handed in a novel, but those were pretty much a no-go too. How about a play? I said. A play? Let me check. No, no plays. Could you ghost write for a celebrity?

My friend’s friend asked me why I kept calling his female dog, Daphne, a she.

I once lived on a commune. I was on their roof for weeks before someone noticed me.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Gerke‘s fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Tin House, Film Quarterly, The Kenyon Review Online, LA Review of Books, and others. My Brooklyn Writer Friend, a book of stories, is available.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, June 11th, 2017.