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Tickling your fancy since July 2006

Archive for July, 2009

Slade Ham


July 31st, 2009
by Slade Ham


God, this is frustrating. I have something I would much rather be writing about right now, but can’t seem to focus on. In a cute little twist, the way life tends to always enjoy twisting things, my equilibrium is off both figuratively and physically.

The metaphor I will eventually get around to dealing with, but the fact that I am pretty much completely deaf right now deserves a little more immediate attention.


Zara Potts

Miss Ellie and My Sister’s Breast

July 30th, 2009
by Zara Potts


Television has been very important in my life.

It made a strong impression on me from a very young age. When I first saw colour TV - I wet my pants. Literally.

Television is how I’ve made my living for most of my working life. It’s inspired me. Exasperated me. Paid my bills. Introduced me to my great love. Taken away my great love. Given me lifelong friends and opened the door to terrible enemies.

You could say television has had a profound influence on me.

But maybe not as profound as it had on my sister.


Patrick Parr

The Book of Drool

July 30th, 2009
by Patrick Parr


Way back, when I was innocent, I sat in the church balcony with my grandmother every Sunday and listened to old men tell me I was going to hell.  At least I felt that way.  They were serious, finger-pointing authorities with heavy robes and they spoke from a big book written by God.  I was twelve, and the authorities I chose to listen to were a boy a named Calvin and a tiger named Hobbes.  


P.T. Winton

The Bastard Child of Jackson Pollock and Claude Monet

July 30th, 2009
by P.T. Winton


Emerging from the Metro station in Montmartre, Paris, the sun plays through a haze that makes all the edges of the city drip with dew. I think back to the maps that got me here.

I came from Germany — a trip in a couchette as resilient as birch wood, to the Metro sub-station in France. Then a quick and jarring ride on the Metro to Montmartre. Paris was going to be a different experience than Germany. The Metro map told me so.



Sara Barron: A Porn

July 29th, 2009

When Sara Barron was eleven years old, she wrote a pornographic movie script entitled A Porn in a spiral notebook. Here, for your entertainment pleasure, is a (comedic) dramatization of that inspired fledgling effort. In this video, modern day Sara talks with her eleven-year-old former self on the telephone.

TNB Photo of the Day

People Are Unappealing, by Sara Barron

July 29th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day

People Are Unappealing 
TNB contributor Sara Barron’s uproarious collection of essays is now in print and you can buy it RIGHT HERE.

D.R. Haney

I Was a Child Porn Model

July 29th, 2009
by D.R. Haney


When I was ten, my parents sent me to summer camp for two weeks. They made the arrangements secretly, knowing a fit was inevitable the minute they broke the news. I was an explosive kid, coming as I did from a histrionic family, and my parents wanted me gone for a while so they could rage at each other without me around to upstage them.

James D. Irwin

I Won’t Hang Myself in Thirty Years’ Time: How Rock ‘n’ Roll Writing Saved My Life

July 29th, 2009
by James D. Irwin


A kid walks into a bookstore, he buys a book, it changes his life in a way he would never have imagined.

But what if that book is never purchased? What if, on that grey summer morning when the clouds are bursting with fine rain falling so gently it’s like the spittle of an overweight and drunken relative trying to hold a semblance of civilized conversation after Christmas dinner, that book never reaches the destination that fate had intended?


J.E. Fishman

Fool’s Gold

July 28th, 2009
by J.E. Fishman


My daughter, not yet eight, has grown suddenly careful with her money.  She’s not greedy.  (She often forgets to ask for her allowance.)  But, now that she’s figured out that money is finite, she spends what she has with great deliberation.

Prior to our recent beach vacation, she planned a lemonade venture for weeks in her mind, fantasizing about the preparation of the drinks, the inevitable line of customers, the transactions.  Our family has a running conversational riff about one day opening a store selling only her favorite foods: salmon sashimi, cucumber, chocolate, a few others equally eclectic.  She’s sophisticated enough to know it’s a joke.  So when she contemplated the lemonade stand she settled on two items she thought would have a better shot than sashimi: lemonade and chocolate brownies. (more…)

Dawn Corrigan

A Thousand Words: My Dancing Career

July 28th, 2009
by Dawn Corrigan


Last week I received a package in the mail from my cousin Kelly.

It was the tap dancing outfit I wore in my 4th grade dance recital.

That recital marked the debut, the apex, the anticlimax, and the denouement of my dance career.


Shya Scanlon

Five Thoughts Upon the Eve of my 34th Birthday

July 27th, 2009
by Shya Scanlon


On Water

I’ve become pretty water-savvy over the past few years. Who hasn’t? Spring water, sparkling water, water from the quickly disappearing glaciers of Alaska – we’ve all been drinking more bottled water. I know some people who have stopped drinking tap water altogether. They say they don’t like the taste, but I think it’s actually a matter of trust. I drink it, but I probably shouldn’t. When I order tap water in restaurants, it’s slightly embarrassing. Can’t I afford the bottled water? Am I making some kind of statement? (Sometimes when the refrigerator in my kitchen kicks in, the lights in my apartment dim a little, and I feel my eyelids dip to match the encroaching darkness as though they’re struggling to blur the line between what they guard and what they guard against.)


David Breithaupt

My Mother Loved Mud - The Untold Story

July 27th, 2009
by David Breithaupt


It’s true, my mother had an affinity for mud. Perhaps her penchant was derived from some hardwired inborn affection stemming from a DNA memory recalling our emergence from the primordial slime. She loved the stuff, shaped it, rolled it, sculpted it and threw it on the potter’s wheel. She couldn’t leave it alone.


Reno J. Romero

Carmen: My Mom

July 27th, 2009
by Reno J. Romero


I moved back to Vegas from Charlotte over a year ago. The reasons? Too many. But one of them was that my mom (my grandmother actually) was battling cancer and I wanted to be by her side. I spent many sad nights on the east coast thinking about what she was going through. It hurt like nothing I ever felt before. I felt like a horrible son.


A. F. Passafiume

Closet Smoking: Thoughts From the Early 90s

July 27th, 2009
by A. F. Passafiume


I am a closet smoker. That means that after I look at people smoking on the street with disgust, vigorously waving their offensive carcinogenic cloud away with my hand until they either stub it out or tell me to go fuck myself, I sneak around the corner and light up. Why do I do this? Why do I scowl at those souls honest enough to light up in public and then turn into a hypocrite?

I grew up in a house with two chain smokers for parents who felt persecuted by the world whenever they encountered an environment that did not allow them to light up. Whenever they visited me in New York, inevitably they would wail, “Oh WHY is the world persecuting us?! Isn’t there ANYWHERE we can smoke?!! God, how we hate this commie town!”


Rich Ferguson

A Thousand Words: Venus, My Goddess of Love

July 27th, 2009
by Rich Ferguson


The late-night June sky was exceptionally clear, rabid with wild stars. As I walked home from a Silverlake bar, I witnessed the usual constellations—Orion, Ursa Major. In addition, I spotted new, undiscovered formations. I named them all: Zardoz, Love Bullet, Moonlight’s Motel.


Aaron Dietz

A Thousand Words: I Have a Fear of Heights; I Went Skydiving Anyway

July 26th, 2009
by Aaron Dietz


I’m at the airport, confident. I’ve never had vertigo in a plane before, so I’m not worried about jumping out of one.

Besides, my dad is jumping, too, and I don’t want to wimp out on him. Mom is here, too, documenting the whole thing in photos, so if I wimp out, there will be photographic evidence of my cowardice. (more…)


Jeff Rivera Interviews Sung J. Woo

July 26th, 2009

Jeff Rivera interviews Sung J. Woo.

TNB Photo of the Day

Everything Asian, by Sung J. Woo

July 26th, 2009
by TNB Photo of the Day

Everything Asian 
TNB contributor Sung J. Woo’s critically acclaimed debut novel is now in print and you can buy it RIGHT HERE. Commence at once with this commercial transaction.


July 26th, 2009
by Alexander Maksik


These arrangements of empty chairs are what’s left of celebration, argument, meditation, sleep and revelation.  They huddle together like still animals in the cold.  From a chair beneath a plane tree, the round tracks of a cane disappear into the gravel.

The single chairs are absent of their poets, readers and afternoon philosophers.

Those side by side and face to face are absent of their lovers, their chess players, the soon to be married and the just abandoned.

The great groups of circles and strange half-moons have lost their lecturers, their students.


Paul Clayton

Le Voisinage de Monsieur Roger, First Blood, Part I, Chapter 7, Addendum 1.1, or My Life So Far…

July 26th, 2009
by Paul Clayton


One of the neighbors in the ‘nage’ flips cars—that is, he buys them, spruces them up, then sells them.  There are always at least six of them parked on our little street, so sometimes it gets a little crowded.  He “ain’t from here,” as country people would say.  He hails from somewhere down south–El Salvador or Guatemala, I think.  He is well dressed, respectful, and attentive.  He can usually be found outside, cell phone in hand.  If I or one of the other neighbors seem to be having difficulty negotiating a turn into our driveways, he will hustle over and move one of the cars like an uptown parking lot Johnny.