Sunday, September 26, 2010

"What the River Drinks . . .": A story based on "Doing An Evil Deed Blues" by John Fahey, as suggested by musician Drew Bissell of Aseethe (16/100)

What the River Drinks In Sun, It Spits In Bones

Moses figures there’ll be a next morning, because there’d been one every day thus far. He’ll be right, and on that next morning, the police will drag the lake and find him at the bottom with his tools in his pockets and a 12 foot boa around his neck. The kids will not stop playing nearby after he is found. Three boys will count the sunbeams on the water and argue over the numbers they come up with. A thousand. A million. Infinity. An old negro will tell them that it don't matter who's right and who's wrong, because no amount of sunbeams is gonna move that damn still water. The sheriff will tell them all to leave when he notices that the snake isn’t constricted and stuck, but, rather, tied in a knot. It’ll be an albino that’s even more pale than when people spotted it originally, whiter than a wedding dress and looking a whole goddamn lot like the snake the Keech boys had found dead near the lock and dam a few days ago. The sheriff will cross his arms and tell his deputy to quit taking notes, that a snake around a nigger’s neck is accident enough, knot or not. They’ll laugh about that for the rest of the day. Knot or not. They’ll go home to their wives and God and whiskey. Until then, until the next morning, Moses will be whistling, walking along by the river and saying Morning, morning to everyone he passes. The words will slip through his lips pained and quickly, like a tongue made of sandpaper, in such a way that everyone will swear that they hear his mantra as Moanin’, moanin’.


John Fahey was a guitarist who played unaccompanied steel guitar licks and made it sound totally badass.

Drew Bissell is a bassist who likes to ask the question, "Are you sure that riff can't be slower?" when writing songs with his band Aseethe.

Our Band Could Be Your Lit on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

Next week: A guest post from someone!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"Vandalism": A story based on "Only Shallow" by My Bloody Valentine, as suggested by writer Victor David Giron (15/100)


Growing up Catholic meant that I learned context faster than most. Good sex was functional, bad sex was vandalism. I explained this to Sandi on our third or fourth date and she asked me about dancing.

“I’m pretty sure you’re thinking of Baptists. As far as I know, Catholics don’t have any rules regarding dancing.” I told her.

She jangled her bracelets, leftovers from her mother’s gypsy phase in the 70s. “Are you sure?”

“Not really,” I said and looked at the bracelets again. She wore them well, all the way up her forearm to the meat above her elbow. She was thick everywhere it mattered, but instead of finding a charming way to tell her that, I picked at my food for a minute and she did the same, bites the size of dimes as we watched each other on the sly. Slow sips of wine, pretending to be able to pick out the different flavors.

She went back to the sex thing. “What do you mean by vandalism?”

“Destruction with no motivation. Misuse of the body, depreciation of the soul.” The light didn’t hit her so much as meet her, glide across the top of her chest and lower neck. “Things like that,” I told her, hashing over the first time I heard such implications at mass and in bible studies. Some things we’ll believe forever just because we heard them first.

I start again. “There was a philosopher who rallied against people being the means to an end instead of the end itself, which is the exact opposite of Catholicism, I think.”


“No, it wasn’t Kant.”

"No,” she said, setting her wine glass down gingerly. “I’m saying the word ‘cunt.’ Can you say it?”

“You mean, am I spiritually allowed to say it? Sure. Cunt. I like big ol’ sloppy cunts.”

“You’re not the best Catholic I’ve ever met.”

“I doubt you’ve met any,” I told her as a joke, but we both became quiet as she thought about it. I had moved to the city a couple years ago with my faith already gone. The people I met seemed to never be born with it, which was fine but different. The sex thing was the weirdest to me, how open a topic it was. The first summer I was here I saw a man sitting down against a dumpster I normally jog past. When I slowed up to check on him and make sure he was all right—not passed out from the heat or anything—I saw he was holding his cock in his hand, a pile of semen on his shirt above his navel. Several flies had landed in it, their wings in a drastic flutter to help their legs get out. The man looked up at me and said, “Howdy.”

She was still thinking when I said, “No worse than Kerouac.”


“I’m no worse a Catholic than Kerouac was, and even though he battled it in odd ways, he claimed to be a good little French-Catholic boy his whole life.”

“I never liked Kerouac.”

We were quiet until I said, “He’s a very male writer.” She’s smart and uninterested, like other girls I’d met in the city, but she had the good nature to roll with things for her own amusement, meaning, at that time, that she questioned me and Kerouac’s supposed denial of feminine adventure. I denied it on behalf of the both of us. Women are plenty adventurous. I just think Kerouac gets a bum wrap sometimes. He’s adventure, on the road and intelligent reverie and all that stuff, but he never gets credit for his lack of understanding and dislike of cruelty in his own life and work.

“To me, that’s the male of the 1950s, the perfect male who has taken up the option of spending his lifetime pondering the blatantly incomplete aspects of his being.” I notice that I’ve been holding my fork in the air this entire time, poised for the bite of steak at the end of it. I take the bite to shut myself up. She asks for the check.

I feel wrong, headstrong for no good reason. We go back to her place and she’s forgotten about it. When I’m taking off her clothes, I bring it back up. “I think I was wrong about that 1950’s male thing.”

“I don’t care.”

“Fine. But just so you know.”

“Thanks, but I still don’t care.”

The things that happen next happened next and then we laid ourselves there, deliberately, to prove we could have been elsewhere had we so chosen. The only thing left ahead was sleep. She went there and I didn’t. I straightened up next to her. The sheets and the pillows and the people on her bed were pressed fine and smooth. There was nothing in the world but surface: the buzz of flies, flesh and silk.



My Bloody Valentine is a band from London, currently trying to shake off about twenty years of dust. They put out a shitpile of EPs and two full lengths. Enough stuff has been said about their 1991 album Loveless--regarding both the music and the folklore--that I don't feel the need to really say anything about it except I wish people would talk about it less and listen to it more. Bilinda Butcher's name reminds me of that Patton Oswalt bit where he talks about how "b" sounds are the fattest sounds a person can make.

Victor David Giron is a writer who lives in Chicago, IL. He's the head honcho over at Curbside Splendor, an independent publishing company based out of Chicago that aims to publish solid writing, often with an urban tilt. He is the author of the novel Sophomoric Philosophy, a book that has been called something by someone (No blurbs are out there yet, folks, which means you're just going to have to buy it when it comes out soon here and blurb it your own damn self). He's got a couple little kids who seem pretty rad and he likes The Sonics. No word yet on if he likes the restaurant Sonic.

Our Band Could Be Your Lit on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

Next week: I haven't decided yet, but I'll probably do that soon.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Rust": A story based on "Your Friend and Mine--Neil's Song" by Love, as suggested by musician Bob Bucko Jr (14/100)





Love were a band from L.A. that had about as many different members as Dokken, but were always led by Arthur Lee (though they would have been better if they had been led by Don Dokken). Their album Forever Changes is famous for being one of those records that hipsters and their parents can both enjoy unironically. Their name proves that the idea of someone trying to Google them 40 years later was not even a concern.

Bob Bucko Jr has been in a thousand bands you've never heard of. He used to play baseball and he loves the Harry Potter books. He's also one of my favorite guitarists, and he wrote one of my favorite songs ever. I've never heard anyone use the phrase "three-minute pop song" more than Bob. A true multi-genre embarrassment, I've heard him play doo-wop, Poison, jazz, bar rock, Captain Beefheart freakouts, and just about everything else. Also, he's always wanted to write a song called "Is My Pussy Man Enough For You?" but is yet to do so. I urge you all to steal this song title from him.

MySpace grab bag of songs

Nitetrotter solo guitar session

Always With the Don't Go EP

Our Band Could Be Your Lit on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

Next week: A story based on "Only Shallow" by My Bloody Valentine, as suggested by writer Victor David Giron.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sittin' In: "A Short Illness" by David Maizenberg, as based on the song "Good Fortune" by PJ Harvey

If you want to be a jerk about it, you could say that I spent too much time reading comics and buying old Rod Stewart shirts on eBay, and when it came time to write this week's story, I let it slide because it was the one thing I had to do that required any actual thought. However, I encourage you to be civil and look at the facts: I worked an unusual number of hours (read: full time, like any other functioning member of society) this past week in addition to having to find time for music-related projects such as two band practices, two shows I rocked out front row at, and listening to the new albums by Heart, Accept, and Katy Perry (I'm not as surprised as I wish I was that Katy Perry's is the best of the lot).

Regardless, I wrote no story for this week. Not even a first draft. I listened to the song, got no ideas, and went back to not writing the story. I blame exhaustion. Luckily, in his attempts to help me out, my friend and fellow fiction nerd Samuel Snoek-Brown was soliciting this website out to some writers he knows. David Maizenberg thought he was taking the bait. Really, though, Dave is the one who reeled me in. He thought he was to write a story based on a song of his choosing. I blame Sam's explanation of the project, which is probably a verbatim copy of my explanation of the project. So, I blame me.

Write a story based on a song of his choosing is exactly what Dave did, and it turned out fantastic. I've been toying with the idea of having guest stories every once in awhile, though I was originally opposed to it. If the quality comes out like this every time, however, I don't see how I can stay in that frame of mind.

Enough blabbering. Here's Dave's story. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.


A Short Illness

(Fiction inspired by PJ Harveyʼs song and video for “Good Fortune”, for Ryan Wernerʼs song-inspiration website project. August 2010)

When I found her, in winter, she was a beautiful, starving disaster. Bundled in throws and jackets, a kaleidoscope of bad choices and artistic fantasies. When she left me, in summer, she was a wraith, on a mission, sleek black, armored by my love, in the glow of the secrets I revealed to her. God knows how I worshiped that fickle witch. And now every night is a lonely fantasy. Visions of her naked writhing, her wide mouth, her whispered visions.

She was coming off some real bad luck that winter. Her appearance was unsettling. Beneath colorful thriftstore coats and shawls she wore draped over her boney clavicles an ancient cashmere cardigan, grey, the color of her disposition and the city’s winter-blasted sky. Her hair was a mousy brown, the tips blond and red from ancient dye jobs. Her hungry eyes stared out half-hidden behind her bangs.

She’d been on some complicated missions, and they’d all failed. She was of the surprised generation. The generation that discovered it didn’t really know what it wanted after all. Unmoored from traditions, betrayed by theories, left with nothing, the party had long ago stopped.

I stripped her down, unwrapped her identities, sat her on my bed, and performed a great and intricate magic show for her. I took my limbs apart, wrapped them in my lungs, tied the whole package with my ligaments, and gave it all to her: my secret wisdom, the key to my luck and prosperity.

Winter turned to spring and she became a new woman, her hair jet black, her gaze steady and vulpine. I introduced her to my friends, hoping they would tame her, but she insulted every one. They are simple people who just want to have a good time. They feared for my safety. Nobody knew what she wanted or what she would do to me. They suspected she was prone to random attacks. And she would never surrender the tasty discipline of her starvation fetish.

By summertime she was entirely new and ready for the next phase of her life. She no longer needed me, and she told me so directly. I could not respond at first. The air was hazy and tasted full of grit. Finally I burst out “I love you more than life itself!”

I regretted saying it the moment it left my mouth. How absurd and grandiose a statement. What could such a pronouncement possibly mean in our world? Such love would make any normal person uncomfortable. In her it brought forth venom. At first she looked appalled, but then all at once she smiled, knowing now she was free for sure. She went to the window to smoke, tap her high heeled boots against the wall, and prepare a few words to mark her exhuberant departure, complete with a handbag twirling, life resetting street celebration. I had given her my mojo and she gobbled it up! What an appetite she turned out to have! And now she was heading back out into the streets from which she came.

Its a pitch black night and the apartment is empty. I go to a bar and get too drunk to stand. As she dances past the window she sees me slipping, windmilling backwards, and then collapsing, knocking over a table and chair in my fall. As my faithful friends rush to help me she just walks past, knowing she cannot be seen in the darkness.



PJ Harvey is a svelte musician from Corscombe, Dorset in South West England. She has worked solo, with the PJ Harvey Trio, and contributed to multiple songs on the Desert Sessions series.

David Maizenberg wrote stories and scripts back in the nineties. Thankfully heʼs been otherwise occupied since then. But every once in a while . . .

(Note: Dave wrote his own bio. PJ did not.)

Our Band Could Be Your Lit on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

Next week: A story based on "Your Friend and Mine--Neil's Song" by Love, as suggested by musician Bob Bucko Jr. (For real this time.)