Thursday, January 29, 2009

...and I hide in the stairway and I hang in the curtain and I sleep in your hat...

So I was talking to Mom on the phone earlier tonight, for the first time in many moons. It was actually a really lovely conversation...she lovingly kicked my ass to (a) deal promptly and aggressively, yet diplomatically, with a snafu that has come up with my UIC Ph.D. app; and (2) to fucking write.

I've got a million excuses for why I'm not doing the writing even though the Ph.D app stuff is done, but all of them are ultimately bogus, except perhaps for the one that involves not really having ideas just now, and not being in a headspace in my day-to-day life to encourage ideas, and develop them, and put them down on paper. But Mom talks a very good and persuasive game. So.

Earlier I was reading the Emilyon's blog, and following her links, and then posting Tom Waits stuff. I also cued my peer-to-peer software to download "9th and Hennepin," and when it got done just now I listened to it, and was weirdly inspired. Because there's weirdness in that...nighttime logic stuff, as Kelly Link might say. One of the reasons I've always loved it. But, so...
And all the rooms they smell like diesel
And you take on the dreams of the ones who have slept here
And I'm lost in the window, and I hide in the stairway
And I hang in the curtain, and I sleep in your hat...
And no one brings anything small into a bar around here
They all started out with bad directions
I think there might be something there, to think through over the weekend and maybe sink some writing teeth into. "I'm lost in the window, and I hide in the stairway, and I hang in the curtain, and I sleep in your hat. What am I?"

That's the question. It sounds like a riddle, when put that way. And it's an interesting and pleasing one to try to construct an answer to. Especially given the rest of the song/piece/thing. So, I dunno. We shall see.

And what does the size of barroom luggage have to do with whether the directions were good or not? I wonder...

It's gonna be creepy and weird, though, and probably oddly, darkly and dementedly romantic. I mean, that's where you've gotta go with it, I think. I haven't done creepy, or tried to, in quite some time. Maybe not since week one of Clarion, actually. But there's also

And the girl behind the counter has a tattooed tear
One for every year he's away, she said
Such a crumbling beauty, ah
There's nothing wrong with her that a hundred dollars won't fix
She has that razor sadness that only gets worse
With the clang and the thunder of the Southern Pacific going by
There it is, right there. What might the $100 buy? And what does the "Southern Pacific" have to do with anything, in Minnesota? Is he talking about a now-defunct railroad concern? I don't know, though it would fit with the "clang and thunder" descriptors. So.
(UPDATE: Apparently so, hence the hyperlink. I love Wikipedia!)

And of course I have no shame in using song lyrics as the inspiration for stories, apparently. Cf. "The Distance in Your Eyes." So.

Anyway. Close to bedtime. So I'm going to sleep on this, and let it rattle around in my back brain for a little while, see what emerges. Cheers.

And if you don't own a copy of "Rain Dogs," for chissake buy one, or obtain one by other means. It's worth every cent and more, so what's wrong with you? Geez.


  1. Yesssss... Dan stories with song lyrics running amok in the background. Happiness will be mine.

  2. What's wrong with me? Where do we start? I guess we could start with my insane belief that I'm not cool enough to listen to Tom Waits. Yes, I know. Still and yet.

  3. Update: I have added Tom Waits to my library. Another thing wrong with me is I'm kind of too broke to buy CDs.

  4. And I drove on 9th and Hennepin today. Miss you.

  5. Karla doesn't listen to Tom Waits? Gasp! I suddenly feel a little cooler.

  6. Whaaa? You were cooler anyway, E-Dawg! But I am catching up. My folks kept me in an underground bunker until I was five and a half...did the "Five Easy Pieces" treatment and like that.