A Curious Man: A Difficult Read

This is a book review on a manuscript provided to me by the Web site called “Blogging for Books.” They provide free book copies to those who will write an honest review.

A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe it or Not” Ripley by Neal Thompson.

I chose “A Curious Man” from the repetoire of books on Blogging for Books, not merely on a whim or the book description this time. Rather, a biography on Ripley appealed to me because of some childhood memories associated with the Believe it or Not tagline.

When I was growing up, almost every summer I would visit my grandmother in St. Augustine, Florida. St. Augustine is a quaint and wonderful touristy town that claims the title of “Oldest city in the US.” As such, it features attractions like the oldest schoolhouse, Fountain of Youth, and several historic stone forts. History is fun stuff and all, but as a kid, I was most interested in the Ripley’s “Believe it or Not” Museum in downtown St. Augustine.

Every year, we’d beg our parents to let us go to the antiquified mansion surrounded by a stone wall, hung with iron chains and spikey mace balls. And (almost) every other summer our parents would give in and sacrifice a day of beachgoing or seafood scarfing to walk their weirdo children through a musty museum of oddities of shrunken heads and deformed animal oddities like a cat with nine tails or a bull with two heads or whatever madness it was that was on display.

And so Ripley’s museum is a treasured part of my strange little upbringing. Even now, as I write this, I am on vacation in St. Augustine, with one of Ripley’s legacy of museum locations only a few miles away. Thus, I thought it appropriate to bring his biography by Neal Thompson with me on this vacation. I thought, reading this will allow me to uncover the story behind this man who traveled all corners of the world, bringing all things wierd, all facts obscure, all trinkets strange back to the freaks of America who would value them. Like me.

Perhaps author Thomnpson and I had similar aims. Sharing the story of Ripley should be a fascinating endeavor. LeRoy R. Ripley, who would later adopt his middle name, did so much, saw so much, knew so much, and was a talented artist that compiled all his trivia into daily cartoons, surprisingly well drawn, that ran in newspapers all across the country.

Ripley came from exceedingly humble beginnings, was orphaned fairly young in his life, fired from his first string of newspaper artist jobs, and had to show a determination (and often a callousness for others who would have him support their ambitions) to make himself into the household name we all know. This is all fascinating stuff that intrigues a reader to push through the life story of an individual. Yet, even so, no matter how dilligent a reader, there comes a point where the fight for the facts will be surrendered if the trivia and minutia make the read too much of a slog.

Unfortunately, this is what A Curious Man turned into for me. I rarely to ever get so fed up with a book that I abandon it, but this book tested that will time and time again. By page 70, I was begging for the author to get to the point. Much like this review has rambled to get to the point that this is a read that will be difficult to hold interest with.

I kept getting the lingering suspicion that the author didn’t have much of a story to tell on Ripley, and therefore would thoroughly beat every detail of Ripley to insure the book reached a length of 400 pages. The story seems like it could easily (EASILY) be told in 200 pages or less. After one particularly harrowing description of Ripley’s attempts at playing minor-league ball and his fondness for the sport of handball, I had to set the book down and watch a program on the world’s cutest cat videos. It just seemed an effort more worthy of my time.

Chapter 4 and 5 were a particularly long slog, and many times I found myself asking myself, why am I dedicating so much effort and pain to get through this story? Perhaps by this time I was just frustrated with the constant alluding to Ripley’s shortcomings. Every single chapter, every 10 pages at least, there was a reference to Ripley’s buckteeth or his tendency to stammer. Kudos for the synonyms used to describe these though. I got “terrible teeth,” “buck-toothed,” “crooked teeth,” “deformed teeth,” and even “fanged” appearance in one particularly eye-rolling effort. At this point, I wanted to stop everyone I met on the street, grab them by the shoulders, shake them, and say, “Believe it or not, Robert Ripley had some pretty bad teeth!” Cut out the references to Ripley not being a handsome, outgoing, or particularly kind man and your book-length is considerably shorter.

Not to say A Curious Man is not interesting. Once the author gets to the point of what he’s trying to say, there’s some really fascinating facts about Ripley. It’s an interesting portrait of a exciting, yet short, life of a determined man. Howeer, at the end, it felt like a lot of work for what I could have gotten from a fully flushed out Wikipedia article.

What was great was the 10ish page insert in the book that provided lots of pictures, and brief descriptions. I think I got more enjoyment out of these pages, that could also be scanned with a smart phone for additional material, than I did from anything else.

If you are a persistant reader, and enjoy the trivia of every mundane factoid, perhaps you’ll get more out of it than I did. The book is thoroughly well-researched and will be a nice addition to a history buff’s library.
Believe it or not it may even pass for a beach read. That’s certainly where this girl is headed next.

-Anna R. Kotopple

Dear Luke, We Need to Talk. Darth…and other pop culture correspondences

This blog is a review of my recent read “Dear Luke We Need to Talk, Darth…and other pop culture correspondences.” I recieved this book free of charge through a nifty little Web site called Blogging For Books. While I didn’t pay for this book, I did choose it from a selection of titles. I disclose this in the interest of full disclosure for any bias this may predispose an author to.

 Dear Luke is a recent publication (still on our new in paperback table at the bookstore) by author John Moe, host of Wits and McSweeney’s contributor. This book is a humorous look at all things pop culture from Star Wars to Friends to Harry Potter. Moe does a good job of throwing in something that I imagine almost anyone can relate to. Part of the fun is in deciphering what piece of pop culture he is going to reference next.

The book is almost 300 pages of brief communication from favorite characters like Mickey Mouse, the shark from Jaws, Kurt Cobain, Dorthy of Oz, Bill Cosby’s sweater collection, and more and then more. Looking at that list though, it’s actually a list of not-so-favorite pop culture icons that Moe speaks for in Dear Luke. No aspect of popular media feels neglected though. With lots of references to music, movies, sports, TV, and even politics, there’s a chuckle here for almost anyone. I feel like I kept up with most of the references, but I did have a couple go by me. I’ve never seen Breaking Bad or the X-Files and so those were more of just a nod of acknowledgement on my part. 

I was not a fan of the “Rejected Super Bowl Half-Time Show Proposals” that were scattered throughout the book ever 5 to 10 pages. It covered the history of super bowl half-time shows, but it seemed like a thin stretch on humor. Then again, I’m not a sports fan or a fan of the half-time shows, so perhaps these sections just weren’t for me. 

I went through as I read and dog-eared all the pages where things that were particularly clever and/or funny stood out to me. My count of marked pages in total came to eight. For a 300 page book, eight instances of entertainment is pretty good. It’s not a spectacular count, but it’s not a total wash either. The book reads almost like a parody movie on pop culture, a popcorn flick, something good to see from Red Box on a rainy day. It’s a standup routine, and it’s effective for a few laughs. I think, that probably being the purpose of the book, it succeeded in this.

My favorite of the comedy vignettes included one from the management of “The Hotel California,” Axl Rose’s manager critiquing his song lyrics, Kurt Cobain writing to the board of Teen Spirit deoderant, the Walking Dead online forum for walkers, a CIA letter about special threat Barney the Dinosaur, and the backstory of the ghosts from Pac Man. Moe did a good job in most of the references to musical pop culture and the mainstays of pop culture. I think the struggle came to some of the less well established pop topics.

I could see this being a book I would buy my dad for father’s day or for a guy friend. For some reason, it doesn’t seem like something I’d reccomend to a female friend. Not that I think that women wouldn’t enjoy the references, it just seemed like something maybe an adolescent boy would get the most kicks out of. This book is very current in covering the trends of what’s popular now or things that have a timeless sense of humor to them. Unfortunately, I think this book will fall off into obsurity in a year or so because it is so current and it dates itself in a big way.

Bottom line: If you see this book in a used bookstore for a couple of bucks, pick it up for a relaxing, light read. Set your expectations low, have fun, and you are good to go. 

A Harrowing Account of Laundry Day

This tale may not interest anyone at all, but it’s just far enough south of mundane for me to recount it here. 

All I wanted was three dollars in quarters so that I could do my laundry. I’ve been trying to do my laundry all week. But laziness, work, and Netflix hampered this effort day after day. When I finally got set to do my laundry yesterday, I found that I didn’t have any quarters in which to feed the machine. I didn’t have cash on hand to turn into these quarters either. And so it began. 

I stopped by a gas station after work, because I figured, surely, gas stations are a guaranteed place for cash back, and when they hand me my cash, I can just ask for a couple of dollars worth or quarters. I needed gas anyway, and so I filled up and went inside to purchase a snack so that cash back could happen. I have been wanting to try the new bottled version of Baja blast, and so I grabbed that as well as a bag of the waffle cut white cheddar and black pepper chips. Looking forward to trying these, I took my purchases to the register.

I was not greeted by the cashier as she grabbed my purchases and scanned them. She asked credit or debit as I scanned my card, and then as I asked if I could do cashback on my debit, she informed me that that was not something they did. Eff. 

I went home and had my snack and relaxed for a few. The baja blast gave me a second wind in which I determined, I needed to have a small outing before I tucked in for the night and I may as well try to get this laundry coin exchange thing going. After a browse at the bookstore, where I was greeted by a loud shout at the door and then ignored by four other employees as I looked around, I stopped by the ATM for some cash I could convert into coinage and decided that Krystal was on the menu for dinner. Again, I thought, surely…a food service place will give me my change and have no objections to a couple of dollars worth of quarters…especially on a Thursday night when they aren’t exactly hopping with business.

And so I pull into the parking lot of Krystal. No customers. As I park, I see two employees stare and glare at me through the dining room window. Oh boy. I enter the Krystal and greet the man who has made the effort of leaving the dining room to take my order. He grunts a hello and stares some more as I glance at the menu. Ready to order after a moment, I step up and say, “Hi. I would please like two cheese Krystals, two Krystal chiks and an order of chili cheese fries.”

As I am ordering, I pause after every item to allow him time to enter this in the computer. Because I know that I don’t like when customers come up and ramble off “skinnytwopumpmochawithsoyat120withnowhipandraspberrysyrup…regular size.” But after each pause, this large man, sweating through his white button down, a shiny assistant manager badge on his chest,  is doing nothing but stare at me, vacantly. I beging to wonder…is there something on my face? After placing the entirity of my order, I wait another pause and he repeats the order back and then moves to punch it in.Well, thank god we are communicating, I think. 

He gives me my total, and as I reah for my twenty, I ask, almost forgetting the whole reason for journeying out: “Oh, would you mind giving me a couple of dollars worth of quarters as you hand me change?” 

I figure…this is no big deal. Customers come to me with this request at least a couple of times a week, and I’ve got no problem with it unless I’m out of quarters, and even then I’ll probably call for a manager to help out. But no, this is not the case outside of my cafe apparently, because the assit. mgr of Krystal gives me the most sour face and the stare down resumes. I wait for his answer. He stares at my twenty like it’s dirty money, I’ve obviously gotten from some nefarious scheme I just completed prior to stopping for fast food. The food is probably just an elaborate ruse so that this junkie can get quarters to feed her vending machine habit, he thinks as he considers whether my need merits the use of his illustrious tarnished silver manager’s key. 

I am judged, and found wanting. But after a beat, he takes the twenty and tosses a ten on the counter as he rummages in the change drawer to get my quarters. He drags out the three dollars of quarters I need and hands them over, beginning to chuckle at this silly female and her obsession with silver shiny things. In an effort to lighten this awkward situation that has developed, I say: “Gotta have quarters. It’s laundry day. You know how that goes.”

He responds: “No.”

“Um…” I’m at a loss for a minute, because I’m not really sure how someone doesn’t know what laundry day is all about. Or at least has the customer service skills to fake it to appease the dumbass customer trying to make small talk. “Well, laundry day at the laundromat is just like doing it at home.” I say.

“So you throw it in and then take a nap until it’s done,” he says. 

As the customer, I have the power at this point to be a real snarkbeast, and give him some of his own medicine. He can’t do much about it because I”m the customer. But I don’t do that because I’ve been verbally abused by customers before and I know that it sucks. Plus, I try to reign in asshole tendancies whenever possible. SoI just nodd and smile. 

A few minutes later, as he hands me my food, he says, “Come back and see us when you need quarters again.” 

Customer service at its finest. I guess I have worked so hard to give good customer service to people who didn’t really deserve it over the past three years, that when I am given bad service for no other reason than people are in a hurry and don’t want to deal with me…well it offends me. I “waste” a lot of time making people happy with the coffee services I provide for them, and all I ask is that I am accomodated to get what I want without grief when I’m out spending my money. First I was let down at the gas station, then the bookstore, and then at the fast food restaurant. Convenience, retail and food service all failed to perform. On top of all this, my food was sub par. 

At least I got my quarters. 

But by the time I got home from all this, I lost my slim desire to do laundry in the first place. There’s always tomorrow. 


Postscript: If you didn’t enjoy this little tale, look for my next blog. I’ve joined a blogging site where I get free books in exchange for blogging an honest review about the book. I will be getting a copy of “Dear Luke, We Need to Talk. Pop Culture in postcards” soon and I will let you guys know what I think of it! 

The Teacup Ride

Sometimes you wake up feeling just doodlebug crazy. But if you don’t center yourself no one else will. I told someone I once respected that I didn’t know where I was going to be five years from now, but I knew that I would be there. That’s the only certainty of sorts that I can commit to. That all said, I felt off today…and then I wrote this thing, and I feel better. I wonder if everyone goes to therapy kicking and screaming as I do. I’m always glad I go to my notebook therapy sessions though. They are work all of their own as I play therapist and patient all at once, but they function invaluable as I read over them now, a week from now, etc.

From the notebook…

The Teacup Ride (5/22/14)

With a whimper, with a battle cry, I throw myself into the foray again. The person I knew has been transmuted into something of a much better hue; easier on the eyes. The rapscallion, chain-smoking and free-wheeling from any push pins you may advertise, now exists as a barely moving,  ancient entity, holding the hand of the next generation and steering himself amongst empty vessals and towards an exit that is obscurred by only thin steam, conjured in the past tense. 

One armed goddess. She gave the others away or lost them while flailing to catch herself against a fall that wasn’t really all too far in recollection. She’s covered in sugared liquid that’s air drying, mixing with her own uncoagulated life syrup that has somehow been loosed, flowing freely in her ignorance as she attends to more pressing needs. 

It’s too cold for you here in the hollow depression made from hours of alternating light and day. Everyone knows that sunrises exist, an event happening quite naturally and scheduled indefiitely, but how many lifts of the orb you cannot view unsheilded do you actually see? Tangled in a fistfight with a time clock, slapping palms against high-rise low-elevation walls of a laboratory rat’s maze to nowhere, you don’t even see your life preserver, floating, flaring above as you turn below and spin until dizy drunk and out of breath in a teecup that is polished and secondhand superglued. You throw your hands up and shout in elation/terror declarations of love to every blurred face you careen past. They surface again, less distinct, on every revolution you make. 


-Anna R. Kotopple

Punk Rock Matrimony

Marriage is so punk-rock.

Say what? Excuse me, Anna, I believe you are confused. Marriage is all about the institution. It’s about Government and legality and his and hers towel sets! Punk rock is rebellion, and primal screams, and green mohawks and converse, and piercings, and definitely not so absolutely not government.

That’s probably what you are thinking. But hear me out. I think marriage and punk-rock are kind bedfellows. Because, like punk, the union of the two goes against everything from biology to the natural laws of the universe. No wonder it’s so difficult, right? I’m going to get a little metaphysical on you and a lot physical as I try and expound on why punk and marriage are hardcore.

To preface this, I’ll say that perhaps I’ve got no business talking about marriage or punk or love. Love and I have gone round and round over the years. I’d like to say we just ignore that the other exists and get on about our business, but most of the time I’m pestering love to show itself in every face and flower that I happen to meet. On the other end of it, I’ve been known to be the jackanape saying to any angsty pre-teen that will listen (not really choosy about my audience age though) that love is a chemical reaction, and not a “thing” at all. For the record, that’s got some truth to it. That aside, my connection of marriage and punk will perhaps help my fuck all attitude and yours too.

Inspiration comes from unlikely places. I think even Kevin Smith would agree that Kevin Smith is an unlikely place to find inspiration. In case you haven’t heard of Mr. Smith, he’s the man behind Clerks, Mallrats, Dogma, Chasing Amy, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, and others. He’s a self-proclaimed “fat, lazy slob who did good.” That’s from his autobiography title, which I’m currently listening to him read aloud via audiobook. I think Smith is honest, funny and intelligent and enjoying the “read” a good deal. He’s real, and encouraging when applying his philosophies to my own “get ahead” endeavours. The chapter that particularly got my brain buzzing today is the one where he is talking about his wife, Jennifer Schwalbach. He’s describing being married to this woman, and how much he’s crazy over her in a sweet and equally potty-humor way (not that I expect anything less from him). So he says that marriage, which he makes synonymous with the term monogamy (as will I for this post), goes against biology and nature, because we are hardwired to procreate with as many bodies as possible in efforts to create as many screaming, clueless replicas of self as possible. That last bit is my words, not his. But that aside, I see a lot of truth there. 

We are fancy animals that wear clothes, season our food, and trim our various outcroppings of hair in an effort to appear a bit more refined than our mammalian family members. And perhaps we make decisions better than the apes because our brains are a tad more hardwired to keep us out of the anthills, but all the same, we have animal urges. One of these is to procreate in a way that produces multiple, healthy offspring. Perhaps, marriage was initially established to create a stability in choosing mates as related to ownership tendencies so that we didn’t get it on with someone else’s pick and get into fisticuffs on a weekly basis. But, I’m here to argue that now marriage is (or can be) a tool of punk rockers everywhere to fight against our biology and the world that is consistently working to bring us into a torpid whirlwind of chaos. I’m arguing that saying “I do,” is a promise to say “screw your inescapable forces of heredity, genetics, and entropy that are working to push my attempt at love into the dumpster fire that is miasma chaos.”

Or something like that.

Kevin Smith argues in “Tough Shit: Life Advice from a Fat, Lazy Slob Who Did Good,” that what holds two people together in a relationship is not love, it’s cum. His words, not mine. I’ll rephrase this by saying that “love” is such an abstract term, quantified by so many different factors, and pretty much doomed to ambiguity by its constant state of flux and inability to be defined that it’s not really what weathers rocky shores. I can agree with this that love is not responsible for longevity, it’s sex and sexual connection. And it feels weird to type that because my whole life, literally everyone else has said that love is what makes relationships go, and that it’s not about sex, or it shouldn’t be about sex, or that sex is certainly not supposed to be talked about in the same room as the sacred cow of love. Well, let’s just go ahead and slaughter that right here. Smith said, he’s loved a lot of women and lost them too. But the sex with Schwalbach is different because it’s what’s kept them together. That carnality (and sometimes fantasy attached to this) of wanting to be with someone is stronger than love. Disagree? Ponder this: you can be angry with someone and not feel like doing something loving for them, but you can still feel like fucking them. And you both feel better after getting it on after a big fight. Sex has staying power where love may fail. And sex can keep or rejuvenate that love chemical squall.

I’ve gotten a little off topic, so I’ll reign it in. Sex keeps a marriage together. I’m not saying it’s the only thing, but, from my observations, it really does help. And Marriage/monogamy/sex with one person goes against our natural way of spreading our genes. So marriage is fighting the system, and sex is its decorated war hero. Plus, punk is sexy. Punk is about liberation with your body and your emotions with a big ole helping of “don’t like what I’m up to? fuck you.” So when punk and marriage meet, they take on the mentality of “hey, I’m deciding that my body, my emotions, my being is dedicated to one person who appreciates their worth and so to hell with all the rest of you trying to get into my head, my bed, and my wallet.”

This is how I assume punk rock matrimony sounds. It probably has a British accent too.

True and lasting monogamy is a big ole “fuck you” to biology and theory. Perhaps it does still buy into the system of organized relationships, but even then you can elope or do something non-traditional enough to quantify your devotion to another punk-rock-style. The only thing making marriage a construct of “the system” is when you allow it to restrict you in the choices you make. Don’t want to wear a white dress and invite your brother in law to some classed up version of a high-school-invite-only birthday party? Then don’t. My monogamy is not in adherence to how They want me to behave, because, even though I claim one boy as my heartthrob, it hasn’t toned down my zest for doing what I want, when I want, with no questions asked. Monogamy doesn’t have to be about settling down. Indeed, if you find the right person, the only thing that will settle is your madness as they click the puzzle pieces into place on your imagined picture backdrop life board thingy. How’s that for mixed metaphor, Balazs? 

Punk rock matrimony is also a slap in the face of the natural laws of the universe. The preference to share your seed or womb with one and only one, fights hard against one of my favourite concepts from physics: the law of entropy. Entropy is, in layman’s terms, the nature of the universe to devolve into a state of chaos, disorder, destruction; the path of least effort. You drop a plate and it reverts into its most relaxed and natural state, several sharp pieces of plaster. Holding things together is hard. It could be argued that marriage/monogamy are the definition of entropy, and perhaps in some cases they may devolve into these. But the intent behind marriage, as I’m often told, is security, structure, boundaries. Some nice concepts to seek when the world is on fire.

Punk plays with the ideas of chaos and messing stuff up, but mature punk uses the entropy of the universe to create change for a better consciousness. And punk can grow up into something valuable. If done right, that’s the goal anyway. Combining punk and marriage results in using an institution the Man thinks he owns to better your life in a partnership that benefits the two involved directly, and through their combined efforts of mind can ripple to make changes for a better community…world…universe. It doesn’t end after the wedding bells stop clanging though.

The struggle to remain in wedlock boils down to a battle against entropy and all its bedfellows. Entropy wants to revert us into separate beings, with messy rooms, not counting calories, slowing turning in our own filth. Heredity wants us to spread our legs to all viable candidates for a strong offspring, and then watch as we all fight each other over limited resources. Biology wants us act on impulse, fight or flight, do what feels good. And then Punk Rock Matrimony says, hey wait a minute, let’s do things my way; you seem cool, too many irons in the fire is going to result in some nasty burns, let’s connect in no particular tangible way and…here we go. Punk Rock Matrimony is about being a part of something for a larger cause but for a larger cause of SELF.

Maybe I’m just musing too hard. But if it got you thinking, I’m not sorry for it. Either way, I recommend checking out Kevin Smith, punk rock, and monogamy. This girl can vouch that they do good work.


-Anna R. Kotopple 



The Comfortable Dark Catastrophe

I said to my boy last night, “My head is a a dark, scary place to be. It’s all right to visit every once in awhile, but you wouldn’t want to live there.” He just laughed. He does that.

All that aside, here’s an interesting dive into my head I made on 3/24. Now, a month later, it seems there’s been an ocean of time between then and now. That’s why when couples say they are “going slow” I have to call bullshit. You move how you move and it may seem to you aeons while it seems like u-hauling to the outside world. Doesn’t really matter anyway. Your relationship is all you. You are the one to keep the ship afloat, and indeed, if you listen to too many seagulls, you may lose your navigation.


Nostalgia Al: The Comfortable Dark Catastrophe (3/24/14)

If Heaven has no music, I don’t want to go. How can it not though? It’s almost as terrifying as considering death itself, or the daily terror of existing without weights to hold this hot air balloon down.

Opened a vein for them and bled all over the sidewalk. It served only to have them complain that I “missed a spot,” my color not quite bright enough to wash all the dirt away. I tried, I say. I tried.

Let me remember the simple way you encircled my spine, and asked me if I was ready to go. Yes. I’d follow you anywhere, into multiple deja vu false memories when I told you that as you created a computer password for me and fell asleep on my couch, I was falling so hard against you. You can’t be real. It simply can’t make sense as it seems. Entropy and particle physics won’t allow this magnetism. Read aloud from my spell book and we will combine like solute. You know what I need better than I do. No physical necessary as we let blood. Bulls eye. You missed my breast and pierced my brown, dirty eyeball problem area.

Promise me, Love, that we’ll watch feminist manifesto documentary and then make our own on the unseen male gaze. Promise too we’ll never say those harsh words we hear on the lips of heredity. Aching to be so inspired. No sleep until you take me upstairs to that dark catastrophe.

I thought the Beatles were a deal breaker, but then I remembered I’m an idiot. Can’t build a mountain on a strawberry field. I though the wizardry world was there I wanted to meet my samurai, but a ninja appeared in the night and set it all aflame. From the cinders he gave me so much terror. So satisfying after nothing but sugary, bitter-sweet forgery for years and years. The addict is awake. She realizes now that she’s been starved, and withdraws as you dunk her head under. The cold faucet of reality is the only reliable detox. Hold her under. She’s not junk free yet.

Pandora had a chest of drawers, but you won’t open even the smallest one. Orpheus went through hell for Eurydice, and got so many burns for the pilgrimage. Trust me to follow you, but try and control the walk through hell and I’ll disappear into my eternal self-punishment sphere.

Acknowledge that I’m a damn fool for you, who loses her words, and throws self on pyre to rake in some useless paper currency. You charmed me with song, but there’s vipers all aground. In the woods, it all looks just like…Doesn’t matter. Don’t trust your eyes.



Maybe one day I will write something that doesn’t smack of angst and melodrama, but today’s not that day. Would you believe me if I said, I’m happy? Again, your validation doesn’t influence it either way. Have a great day everyone.


-Anna R. Kotopple

Boys Will Be Men

(another vignette from the daily writing log; based on a series of dreams I’ve had this week)

I saw a skeleton, lightly jogging down my street. I slowed to let her pass, and she smiled at me. She said: “Black is the color of mystery, of seeking. It’s not on our rainbow, because it is a self outside the spectrum.” I told her I didn’t know what all that was supposed to mean, but that I’d share it all the same. Immortalize ignorance in novel significance until the day of dawning came. 

Earlier than this, I dreamed. I had slighted Anubis, and the god was determined to crack down on me. I had eaten the fruit filled plesantry of a pastry before I entered the realm of oblivion. It was a peach I’d been commanded to leave be. Somehow, I’d forgotten, staring death and all his friends down while my comrade in anarchy bid me to flee from resurrected toots sweets who gave chase with cannibalistic intent. And, of course, I’d left my pants somewhere. Finding them, halfway through the flee, I pulled them on as we ran and dared you ask the adage, who wears the pants between me and you? It’s obvious. We both do. Welcome platitudes of the English language to the KNEW Generation. He was raised by a woman alone who shatters glass windows. And, I reckon, most days, I raised myself. So we are on equal footing. Black shoes. Scuffed, and worn, and brand new. 

Boys will be men and so the pictures they see could be sacred text. Or we could just continue to live the life on “Repeat.”