Monthly Archives: September 2006

The Fourth Wall

The fourth wall is the invisible wall that separates the actors of fiction from the audience. It is more of a concept than a definable “thing,” the best example being the invisible plane extending upward from the edge of a theater stage. The purpose is to establish a certain theatrical realism (and surrealism). Here’s a list of fiction that intentionally breaks the fourth wall.

Update on the Harmonica Player

I wrote an open letter about the harmonica player that sat on the cement wall outside of the UGLi throughout my four years at the University of Michigan. A recent facebook group brought to my attention that he is actually a professor at the U of M, and is not, as I had assumed, homeless. His name is Tom Goss and he’s been playing for nearly 20 years. Chances are that if you took a stroll through the Diag in Ann Arbor you would hear him today. Here’s a Michigan Daily article on him.


Hay piled high in the fields flowing by the car window, its stalks golden and brown – or are they staffs – bent by the summer wind until the sun shimmers off the flat spot. Looking through the back window wondering what it would be like to swim in the fields, or just to run free. Anything to escape the back seat of a six hour car ride.

Law School

Kinda like reading a four drafts of a bad novel with no descriptive words, adjectives, or adverbs. Except, then you have to take the relevant facts and divide them amongst the four drafts so that only with all four in front of you do you get a decent idea of what the storyline is. Oh, and each draft has a different narrator, too.

Unknown Nostalgia

Can our memories outpace us? Don’t they already? Isn’t an expectation an unfulfilled memory? A shell waiting to be filled? The future is like reverse memory loss. It’s indefinite as it fades and changes and sometimes disappears altogether. The difference? There’s potential in unknown nostalgia.

When do we become content?

I have this idea of an old man stopping by a coffee shop window and looking in on youth on the inside. He’s cold and shivering because his coat is too thin and his blood doesn’t run fast enough. He’s slowing down, but won’t go inside to warm his chill. Instead, he tolerates the cold.

There is a beautiful girl with smooth skin on the inside. She whispers, “Hello, Sir.”

They never meet. He smiles back, maybe.

There’s youth and age. There’s warmth and cold. There’s a clear window pane that divides the two. But, what is between them other than years?

When did he become content? When does she stop wanting?


We let our guard down and look around wide-eyed and wondering what’s going to get us in the degenerate darkness that we find ourselves stumbling around in. It’s an unfamiliar feeling. Different and distant from what we’ve experienced before. The minutes race by as we look at and past each other and wonder why we ended up where we did.

Sit down. Silence. Listen to what the speaker has to say. Those were the rules when I went to church. You could say those were my intentions, as well, for five minutes of the sermon. But inevitably, my thoughts degenerated to musings less pure than the worship of His Holiness. As my pencil drew spirals on the timeline, I closed my eyes and tried to think of the color black. Memory Flashes. Memory frozen. Memory frames.

“I want to degenerate you,” he said.

“What does that even mean?” she said.


“Shut up. You’re being stupid.”

Degenerate. Corrupt. Impure. Debased. Degraded. Vitiated.

I’ve never known anything to be absolutely free of these.

Pure. I guess it’s always associated with white. With this innocent glow that knows nothing, but isn’t it easier to conceal and overlook in darkness? I would rather hide in a black room than a white one. In a dark one, not a light one. That’s where I would go. What I would think if I wanted to get away.

This man had two hearts and one big smile. At parties his friends would often joke with him about the extra heart. They told him he was a nice guy. That he could love more. That he could run faster than Secretariat. He smiled at these prods, which he had endured for a decade now, and always responded by saying he was waiting to meet the right woman. Then he’d give her his heart. Or both his hearts. He hadn’t really figured out how this joke worked, but he chuckled and everyone around him laughed because they were drunk and the barrier to laughter had long since degenerated.

Excuse Me

I had gum on my shoe when you bumped me on the shoulder with your backpack and didn’t say sorry. I was standing in line waiting to order a turkey sandwich with mustard on white bread when you pushed me to the side and looked the other way. I was tired and cranky when you didn’t meet my glare. When you kept on walking when I tried to pull your hair. It wasn’t that you got away that pissed me off that day. It was that I couldn’t catch and I wanted to. I wanted to wrap my arms around you and tell you it was ok that you hit me with your pack. That I didn’t mind your aloof manner because it made my day.

What’s Up?

I’ve been busy-ish. Therefore, no updates in a while.

I went to Lake Winnipesauke (pictures) yesterday and toured the Castle in the Clouds. NH is an amazing place and driving around the lakes here reminds me of home. Except, I guess we don’t have mountains, which are a nice backdrop.

This past Saturday was Mexico’s Independence Day. It’s kind-of-like our Fourth of July, except there were only five of us celebrating and there were no fireworks. We made t-shirts that read, “Mexico 1810 – 2006″ (pictures) and made Mexican food.

The fall TV shows are starting to pile up:

* Sunday is Simpsons and Flava Flav
* Monday is Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
* Tuesday is Boston Legal
* Wednesday is nothing. How sad.
* Thursday is The OC (11/2) and Grey’s Anatomy.
* Friday is the weekend.
* Saturday is football. Obviously.

Deep Thought

I found this today. It appears to be some of my deeper thinking from college.

I envy the brick. On hot days it is cool and on hot days it is cool. It is consistent. It is certainty. I know it will be here. In all of its whiteness I find myself wondering what it that makes me more than a brick is. I mean, I could have just as easily been born as a brick. Maybe I was and I changed. The baby pictures never looked quite right. I just don’t understand.

The Elusive Breakfast Nook

The nook invites you in in a subtle way, like it’s a drug dealer in a high school hallway. But, I’ve never bought or dealt drugs, so I’m only guessing on that. What I’m saying is that the nook is subtle unless you are in the know. Then it is the place you spend your Saturday mornings having the usual or the special. They will know which you prefer.

Nooks in my life:

  • The Omelette Shop in Traverse City, MI
  • Angelo’s in Ann Arbor, MI
  • The Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, NH
  • The Cottage in La Jolla, CA
  • Whitlow’s on Wilson in Arlington, VA

Nervous Habits Decline

This morning while I was washing my hair in the shower with the last few drops of the concentrated camp soap I carried into the Grand Canyon, I was thinking real’ hard about how I am less stressed in law school than I was leading up to law school. My little slice of the working life grew stale as the seasons of 2005 faded into 2006. I was quite literally in a waiting game for the better part of a year and a half, and that made me a nervous wreck.

Being somewhat high strung doesn’t help. Tending to bottle up my anxiety amplifies everything. Not being or doing what I wanted (because life is about what I want) drove me into a little dark hole maintained by the sayings, “it pays the bills,” and “are you having fun at work.”

That skin has sloughed off now and left me pink and fresh in the New Hampshire wilderness. I like the macro of school. The idea of learning. The osmosis that is inevitably taking place in my mind and body that, with a dash or a pinch of hard work, will run my mind for the rest of my life.

Already, I’m starting to question everything. Feel nothing for the scared, maimed, and injured plaintiff bringing suit against Big Rich Corp. The reading sucks in most cases (no pun intended), but once in a while I get a good set of facts and a good issue and I almost want to brief the case. I almost want to raise my hand in class and volunteer information.

But, let’s not get carried away with our sentimentality. After all it is school and we’re all here because we want to make money someday.


My goal in life is to become a writer. An author. A poet, even. It doesn’t matter as long as what I do involves writing and telling stories. Not sure how to get there, or what to do on the way, but I’ll figure it out one way or another. I think I need to read more. I need some stories to tell. I need some characters to fill my head and to take over my conscious until all I can do – all I want to do – is sit in the dark alone, or maybe near other people, and share stories. Other stories. Stories about people I know and don’t know. About people I make up. If I mix them all together what does it matter who’s real and who’s fiction?

I just want to write. That’s it.