Sunday, October 15, 2006

A Non-Horrific Date

Last weekend I finally went out with the very nice girl I'd been flirting with a few months ago. We got dinner at a cool place on St. Marks which served very small glasses of soda. Their guacamole was pretty good, as was the veggie burger, so I'm interested in going back.

We had a pretty good conversation; I learned a bit about her college years and family relationships. After dinner we walked around for a while and eventually settled in Madison Square Park on 23rd Street. We found enough in common to keep the conversation going most of the time, but there were moments of "I'm not sure what to say."

After a while it got a little chilly, so we set forth in search of a Starbucks that was still open.

That didn't take long.

We walked in, found out they closed at 10, and I grabbed an orange juice. We talked for a while longer about comics & such. Around 9:30, we called it a night. She works a normal schedule, and had to be up early. We walked to the train station, hugged, and went our separate ways.

I sat on the train and thought about the evenings events. I came to the realization that whatever spark we lit up had unfortunately died out. It's a little sad because I should be longing for this girl. We have far too much in common for me to not be attracted to her. I guess it's a case of "perfect on paper." I definitely want to hang out with her again, and I know I'll see her a lot socially.

I wish we had the chance to fan the spark into flames instead of life getting in the way of it all.

"I Think I Know You"

I've been listening to a lot of spoken-word/storytelling/standup comedy by Henry Rollins lately.

"Henry Rollins, the 'Liar' guy, from Black Flag?"

Yep, that's the one. He's fucking hilarious. In one of the albums, he performs a more somber encore, reading from his book Black Coffee Blues. I listened as each detail hit me in the chest. I identify with about 90% of it. Here you go:

I Know You by Henry Rollins

I know you
you were too short
you had bad skin
you couldn’t talk to them very well
words didn’t seem to work
they lied when they came out of your mouth
you tried so hard to understand them
you wanted to be part of what was happening
you saw them having fun
and it seemed like such a mystery
almost magic

Made you think that there was something wrong with you
you’d look in the mirror trying to find it
you thought that you were ugly
and that everyone was looking at you
so you learned to be invisible
to look down
to avoid conversation
the hours

Ah the weekend nights, alone
where were you
in the basement?
in the attic?
in your room?
working some job?
just to have something to do
just to have a place to put yourself
just to have a way to get away from them
a chance to get away from the ones that made you feel so strange and ill-at-ease inside yourself

Did you ever get invited to one of their parties
you sat and wondered if you would go or not
for hours you imagined the scenarios that might transpire
they would laugh at you
if you would know what to do
if you would have the right things on
if they would notice that you came from a different planet
did you get all brave in your thoughts
like you were going to be able to go in there and deal with it
and have a great time
did you think that you might be “the life of the party”
that all these people were gonna talk to you
and you would find out that you were wrong
that you had a lot of friends
and you weren’t so strange after all?

Did you end up going
did they mess with you
did they single you out
did you find out that you were invited
because they thought you were so weird

Yeah, I think I know you
you spent a lot of time full of hate
a hate that was pure as sunshine
a hate that saw for miles
a hate that kept you up at night
a hate that filled your every waking moment
a hate that carried you for a long time

Yes I think I know you
you couldn’t figure out what they saw and the way they lived
home was not home
your room was home
a corner was home
the place they weren’t- that was home

I know you
you’re sensitive
and you hide it, because you fear getting stepped on one more time
it seems that when you show a part of yourself that is the least bit vulnerable
someone takes advantage of you
one of them steps on you
they mistake kindness for weakness
but you know the difference
you’ve been the brunt of their weakness for years
and strength is something you know a bit about
because you had to be strong to keep yourself alive

You know yourself very well now
and you don’t trust people
you know them too well
you try to find that “special person”
someone you can be with
someone you can touch
someone you can talk to
someone you won’t feel so strange around
and you found that they don’t really exist
you feel closer to people on movie screens

Yeah, I think I know you
you spend a lot of time daydreaming
and people have made comment to that effect
telling you that you’re “self-involved” and “self-centered”
but they don’t know, do they
about the long nightshifts alone
about the years of keeping yourself company
all the nights you wrapped your arms around yourself
so you could imagine someone holding you
the hours of indecision
the intense depression
the blinding hate
the rage that made you stagger
the devastation of rejection
maybe they do know
but if they do
they sure do a good job of hiding it

It astounds you how they can be so smooth
how they seem to pass through life as if life itself was some divine gift
and it infuriates you to watch yourself with your apparent skill,
and finding every way possible to screw it up
for you, life is a long trip
terrifying and wonderful
birds sing to you at night
the rain and the sun
the changing seasons
are true friends
solitude is a hard won ally
faithful and patient

Yeah, I think I know you

This complete work is © Henry Rollins

Saturday, October 07, 2006


"So Jeff, you haven't been writing much lately."

Fuck you I haven't. Just not here. I'm working on an autobiographical comic, and that shit ain't easy.

"Well sure, I suppose that'll take up some - buh HUH?"

I've pretty much given up on opening a comic shop. Sure, I'd still like to do it once I win the lottery. As you can guess, it would take up WAY more resources (re: cash money dollar dollar bill, y'all), and Wu-Tang Financial ain't nothing to fuck with.

I get on the train each day, pull out my sketch book, and write. I sketch, I lay out, I design pages, flesh out ideas, try to recover memories. Most of it is verbal, not visual.

Mom's going to send me old photo albums & yearbooks & report cards. Remembering anything before 8th grade is pretty fuzzy.

My art is up to my 10th grade level at this point. I haven't been practising as much as I should. Hell, I'm supposed to work on a strip for my roommate, and that's hard to get into. Despite all the reference I have, and how hilarious the writing is, I'm not as enthusiastic as I should be, as I want to be.

My writing/pacing/design, however, seems to have improved, even if it's just a little bit. I'm actually HAPPY with it.

Going through and writing down some of the stuff has not been easy. Stuff like...

4th Grade, Age 8. When I got home from school, I actually had an hour and a half or so to actually relax and not be on the defensive. But once Dad got home from work, tension in the house shot through the roof - and I wasn't the only one who felt it. Everything pissed him off, and being a violent alcoholic didn't help.

One thing I did to incur his wrath was to place the spoon down incorrectly on the table. My reasoning was that when you eat, the bowl of the spoon points toward you when you hold it. Why not set it on the table the same way?

Dad sat at the table, on my immediate left. I put my spoon down and reached for the fork. A split second later, my line of sight was blocked by an arm. I felt his hand cover the right side of my head.


I then found myself on the floor, with my left ear to the carpet. The chair I was in broke.

"Get up."

I got up, tears streaming down my face. I put the chair upright, realigned the legs, sat & finished dinner. I went to my room, changed my clothes, laid down, and cried myself to sleep.

Real heartwarming stuff, right? The day I wrote that, my other roommate commented, "you seem a little depressed, are you okay?"

I was fine of course. Just reliving that and a few other incidents I poured onto the page is a tad draining. Typing it out here isn't affecting me nearly as much.