curse you, berlin, for shrinking my posse! wabes left for germany yesterday, and while i'm thrilled for her and know her year of research will be fantastic (she's too modest to say so, but our girl had fellowship committees competing for her), i couldn't help feeling a bit sorry for myself - and a bit sheepish. i've grown so accustomed to having my girlfriends scattered across the country that i never quite wrapped my brain around how close she was. we met up every few weeks, sure, but now that she's on the other side of the atlantic - i feel like i pissed away so many opportunities. i'm a huge flake, operatically (and genuinely) affectionate in person but virtually unreachable for making plans or catching up from afar. i could make excuses for it - i'm awkward on the phone, i have limited internet access, i'm nesting with the cats and the wife - but at the end of the day, i'm just flaky.

the war on this begins with our trip to chicago next month to see jen and tom: in jen's case, i've been promising a long-distance visit since, well, about 1997. i will also return phone calls, make concrete weekend plans, write beautiful letters, and send a boy to the cratchits' with a turkey! really, internets: i'm going to work on this. and wabes - you're missed.

from lovely ladies to nasty men: pica (the former) comments on the recent release of jack kerouac (the latter)'s on the road (original recipe):
[S]ounds like a marvelously ugly, hateful all-American text. Tasty, like Rocky Mountain oysters dipped in ketchup. I never made it past Kesey and Ferlinghetti as a teenager: I don't think Kerouac or Cassady ever seemed much like kindred spirits; they seemed more antsy than zany. On the road with a bunch of semi-closeted misogynists? Sounds pretty boring to me. I think I'll read popular science books and Camus instead.
kerouac was, well, a marvelously ugly, hateful all-american, which brings me to a question pica asked a few months ago:
Could you read, and love, a literary work by someone whom you personally know to be a crappy human being?
my answer at the time was OH HELL NO! - or it would have been if i could comment on vox blogs (you have to have an account). my answer with old jack kerouac in mind is - apparently yes. i've little (personal or professional) patience for the beats (burroughs in particular - if i had a time machine, i'd head for tangier in the '50s and punch him in the face), but under the influence of my hippie freshman roommate, i read a shitload of their stuff (and wrote several papers on them). kerouac, the chigger, got under my skin: to this day, for me, two of the most resonant passages in modern american lit are his (one from on the road, one from dharma bums). it breaks my heart to know that you'll never read on the road, pica - it's a frequently tiresome book from a frequently tiresome man from a fr - anyway, but its moments of brilliance are more than worth a few hours of holding one's nose.

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