Saturday, September 24, 2005


Up in LA Way

I can't catch up on everything, but I'll hit a few of the highlights. This week has been "welcome week." From Monday to Thursday, all the new teachers were forced to sit through eight hour days of seminars and lectures about topic ranging from sexual harassment (who hasn't heard this speech?) and web sites and handicapped access and any tiny detail you could imagine, except of course, you know, what we were actually supposed to teach.

Friday was my first class. I came early, sat in a circle and then as the students starting filling in, I realized it had become too late for me to announce that I was in fact the teacher, and not one of the students.

"I hope the teacher's not a dick," one student on my right, Devon, says to me. "Yeah," I said, "me too."

They got a kick out of it when I told them I was really the instructor. After that, I had them talk about their music taste, which I sarcastically criticized. They seem to like Thrice. Thrice! Cheesy pop punk three chord crap. Well, that's what I thought when I listened to them two years ago. Perhaps they're better now.

Today we drove up to LA to Michel Latiolais' house. All the fiction students met there, had lunch, and picked up our first two submissions for workshop. It was a beautiful Spanish house, one story, low ceilings, lots of pastel colors and a carefully chosen, strange art collection. A massive CD collection (that belongs to her late husband Paul) and book collection as well.

From there, we went to one of the other fiction guy's place in LA off sunset boulevard. It was nice as well- he's a Bosnian refugee from the 90's. My other class mate was a marine in Iraq, and has already written a book about it. There's a third year guy who lives on a boat. I'm in interesting company.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


Insert Title here.

I'm down to once a week with this blog thing. Well, things have been busy. Between flying back to NY, then back here, getting set-up (I finally got a bed, Queen size, for free on Craigslist!) just in time to start welcome week. That starts Monday, and it's basically a series of meetings, mostly concerning teaching, giving us some basics and introducing us to the course material.

Tonight I met most of the MFA poetry students. Several of us went out for Pizza across the street from the campus, and then came back to someone's apartment. There, people drank, talked, played guitar, sang, and talked a lot of nonsense in general. My first real time hanging with most of the writing folk around here.

Tomorrow I'm off to the DMV to get myself a California license.

I can't believe Joe's been dead a week now.

But I've decided to write a story about his death, and his funeral. So there's that. I think I would like to try to have a draft of it ready to hand in for my first chance at workshop.

We'll see. I still have written anything while I've been out here, and I'm almost afraid to start. It feels weird and unfamiliar. New place, new people, so much to think about, it all makes it hard to concentrate on writing. I'll cope, of course.

I have pictures from the trip, I'll look for some free time to put them up here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


Bad news.

I received terrible news last evening. My good friend Joe died yesterday, an overdose of prescription meds. He was 25. I'm getting a flight to NYC right now, to attend the wake and funeral tomorrow.

He was one of my closest friends.

Friday, September 02, 2005


California Daze.

Well, I've arrived. Irvine. The land of many strip malls. Parking lots and yogurt stands as far as the eye can tell.

I've been here since Tuesday. I moved into my apartment Wednesday, and have been getting set-up since. Little shopping, little computerizing (I'm finally writing from my new home, my computer is set-up, and I don't have to worry about running out of internet time.)

I'll try to keep blogging about my trip in retrospect, in between posts, here and there. There's just not enough time.

I have no bed yet, so it's the sleeping bag for now (no place to hang the hammock indoors, damn it.) While tomorrow, I leave for Mexico for Labor Day Weekend.

My heart breaks for New Orleans. I have some friends there that are unaccounted for. It's hard to believe, and even as I've had a great trip, and have so much on my mind about school out here, I can't help but feel hollow.