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There’s a bluebird in your heart

Archive for the ‘Luck’ Category

Steve Sparshott

Access Small Areas

November 2nd, 2009
by Steve Sparshott


Being disabled and not being a billionaire evil genius is a shite state of affairs.

After a six year trial period, I’ve decided it’s not for me. The problem is context—context being, supposedly, everything. You see, I didn’t spec my environment; I don’t have a hollowed-out island full of boiler-suited minions, with smooth floors and rapid, spacious lifts. I have London, and it’s a fucking disgrace.

Simon Smithson

It’s The Strangest Thing

November 1st, 2009
by Simon Smithson


I’m of two minds about posting this. Mainly because I’m worried that when my hat-wearing, bullet-riddled corpse is found on the wrong side of the border with a simultaneous death-grip on both an empty bottle of Jose Cuervo and a silver .45, the eventual court proceedings will employ this post and previous ones from TNB as Exhibit A: When It All Started To Go Wrong For Simon And We Were Left With No Option But To Bring Him Down.

But hey, it’s Halloween. So enjoy!


Marni Grossman

Taking it Day-by-Day

October 27th, 2009
by Marni Grossman


He leaned in close.  Like they do in the movies.  He leaned in close and I could see his every pore, his every hair follicle.  He leaned in close and I didn’t move away.  He leaned in close and then, without preamble, he began to sing.


Suzanne Burns

Diary of a First Book, Entry 4: Still Loving Morrissey and Shopping at the Gap

October 23rd, 2009
by Suzanne Burns


Don’t ever agree to your book being published if you have a fear of public speaking. I can say that, over the past five months, I have almost completely conquered this fear. I have beaten it out of myself. My husband has stood by, helplessly watching the self-berating, doling out the necessary Kleenex and gelato cups, weighing in on every outfit I’ve tried on. My vain (in more ways than one) attempt at looking just the right combination of serious literary writer and hot-ass bitch has culminated in committing the worst of sins: I bought a black T-shirt from the Gap.


Kip Tobin

“So I Was Just About To Fall Asleep, You Know, Right In That Nebulous Spot Between Being Conscious and Totally Slipping Off Into the Other Side, When the Phone Rings.”

October 4th, 2009
by Kip Tobin


“It was 2 am on Sunday, my last week in Guadalajara and also higher education hell week when all your papers have to be finished, exams gotta be taken and your stress level is already pressing down a little further on your already-painful digestive system, strained from daily dense Mexican food and a second bout with that bastard Montezuma.”


Lenore Zion

Sunday Morning/The Party’s Over

October 4th, 2009
by Lenore Zion


I call it the “Sunday Morning/The Party’s Over Depression.”

When I was a kid, my parents let me have birthday parties. An entire gaggle of prepubescent girls would swarm my house and play stupid games on Saturday. Most of these games don’t have official names. There was the one where we pretended to put each other into some sort of supernatural spell, a possession of some kind, and even though we all faked it, we also all thought it was real when another girl was possessed. This always made me think there was something wrong with me. Why can’t I become possessed? All the other girls can.


Don Mitchell


September 30th, 2009
by Don Mitchell


I wrote this some time ago and had no thought of posting it, but because the tsunami that hit the Samoas has been in the news and in my thoughts today, I dragged it out, made cuts, and offer it as a first-person tsunami account.

On Monday, May 23, 1960, in Hilo, Hawai’i, I was nearly killed through my own foolishness, and then, not an hour later, I began rescuing people who were already dead. I was 16.

Simon Smithson

Leaving (for) Los Angeles

September 28th, 2009
by Simon Smithson


I stopped into Los Angeles recently; I wanted to get a new guitar strap and there was also this minor literary thing that I figured I could go to while I was there. It was a good trip, and one that I will cheerfully blog about at some length. There are some stories that must be told, and moments that I fear will haunt me forever unless I sobbingly confess them to the internet at large. Like the point over dinner when I suddenly realised that the twinkle in Brad Listi’s eye wasn’t pleasantly welcoming bonhomie at all, but rather a deep and unforgiving madness (the two look remarkably similar).  Or the time I first heard Greg Olear’s voice, and I knew in my bones that terror had a new favourite uncle. Even now, I can’t close my eyes without seeing Rachel Pollon laugh and laugh and tie Ben Loory to a railroad track (the story of how he survived is one of incredible heroism, skull-shattering evil, and one man’s surprisingly aerodynamic straw hat).

But these are things that will have to wait until my next post, as I have other things to say first. (more…)

David S. Wills

A Thousand Words: Wilderness Kicks

September 14th, 2009
by David S. Wills


I used to work on an organic farm in California, living in a barn full of horses and riding tractors through fields under the warmth of a gentle fall sun. I was a Beatnik then more than now – among hippies and flower children, believing everything I was told and digging all the world in some glorious young innocence.

I was obsessed with Kerouac and Ginsberg, and with the notion of wilderness. I read too much for my own good; my head full of dreams and naïve thoughts. I’d read Into the Wild, a lot of London and some Thoreau. I was obsessed with Big Sur and becoming free of the constraints of humanity. I loved the idea of the writer disappearing into nature.


Matt Baldwin

E-mailing the Hurricane

August 28th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin


Note to the reader: I lived in New Orleans from 2001-2005. For the last six months of this period I held a position both on the security team and as an ER intake/administrator at the Oschner hospital, the largest medical facility in Orleans Parish and one of only two to remain open in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. As a member of the Disaster Relief Staff remained within the city for the storm and the first few weeks of the aftermath. The following document is a collection of the emails I mass-sent to friends and family during that time. I have edited out some bits of personal information of no interest to the casual reader and have made some minor corrections to the spelling, but have otherwise left the text unchanged, grammatical warts and all, so as to preserve the immediacy in which these were originally written. Some of the second-hand information reported herein was later proven to be hearsay, and some of it turned out to be worse than originally thought. I was very torn as to whether I should publish this at all, and am doing so largely due to the encouragement of some friends and fellow TNBers.

The paragraph titles are taken from the subject lines of the original emails.


Lenore Zion

This Is My Excuse, Mom

August 25th, 2009
by Lenore Zion


I was driving out of my neighborhood the other day when I stopped to let a man with his dog cross through the crosswalk.

He waved thank you to me, and began to cross.  Halfway through, he noticed the leash tighten in his hand.  His dog had discovered the perfect place to take a shit, and was performing his little poop-circles.  The man attempted to pull the dog toward the grass on the other side of the street, but the dog wasn’t budging.  The dog didn’t want to poop across the street.  This was the spot.

The dog began to poop. (more…)

Matt Baldwin

What You Do When A Stranger Tries To Knife You In The Face

August 17th, 2009
by Matt Baldwin


You have just left work for the night, backpack slung over your shoulder as you make your way back to the car. It is 4:30 a.m. and still dark, the early spring air already laced with the coming summer’s humidity, and as you walk a fresh patina of sweat fills the void between your T-shirt and your back. Though the nightclub you work at is closer to the Canal St. side of the French Quarter, you habitually park on the far side off of Esplanade Ave., congratulating yourself on once again outfoxing not only the overpriced parking lots but the draconian New Orleans meter maids.

Four nights a week you make the half-mile or so trek each way down Decatur St. You find the stroll allows your mind time to unwind from the stress of work, and if it needs assistance, well, there are plenty of good bars along the way. The boisterous tourist crowds have largely vanished by this hour, and the few individuals you encounter are service industry employees like yourself, off the clock and looking for a little fun. You’ve got an early afternoon meeting with one of your professors, though, and a few blocks past Jackson Square you turn onto a darker cross-street, hoping for a short cut.

As you come round the corner a knife dances out of the dark, headed for your face.


Simon Smithson

Sex Talk

August 15th, 2009
by Simon Smithson




So. Of late, certain Scullys of my acquaintance have been pointing out that perhaps ‘Simon Smithson Territory’, or ‘Simon Smithson Syndrome’, as it has become known here on The Nervous Breakdown, is not quite the synchronicity-laden Bermuda Triangle I’ve been selling it as. They point to probabilities, they objurgate me with odds, they calculate chance and causal effect. They say ‘Hey, it’s just coincidence that you dreamed of your dead grandmother and she was mentioned the next day in conversation. It’s just coincidence that you dreamed of your friend Richard getting it on with a model, and he then called you the next day to say he was at an audition directly next to a model casting shoot.’

Be that as it may, should my younger self join the Brazilian soccer team, make a game-winning goal in the final seconds of the match, and go on to celebrate with the rest of the team by stealing a train, we’ll know for sure that my recent dreams can accurately predict the future. (more…)

Slade Ham


August 11th, 2009
by Slade Ham


A friend of mine called with a free ticket to see a sneak preview of District 9 the other night and I naturally took him up on the offer. Free? Of course. I had plenty of time to get there before the movie started. “By the way” he says, “they’re not allowing cell phones into the theater to make sure no one leaks footage, so unless you feel like sneaking it in just leave it in your car.”

No worries. Being without my cell isn’t a sensation I’m comfortable with, but I’d rather leave it in my car than with some minimum wage Edward’s employee. I pulled in, parked on the side of a strip center parking lot, and walked over to the theater. Even on the worst day, two hours of things blowing up never ceases to put me in a slightly happy mood, and a lot of people exploded in the movie. A LOT.


Ducky Wilson

The Hooker from Phnom Penh

August 8th, 2009
by Ducky Wilson


While an Asian pro with a rhinestone ass wiggles next to a pot-bellied shooter sporting a runaway moustache at the Bellagio craps table, I wonder what the percentage of self-deluded people there are in the world.

Probably pretty fucking high, I think as I scan the room. At the video poker bar, a bachelorette pops a caplet of X into her mouth as her friends cheer her on. “Scooby Dooby Doo,” she howls at a passing geriatric, then preps a line of coke on her wrist to rev her high.

She catches me watching and smiles. “You wanna line, sugar?”

Mississippi. Maybe Alabama. “No thanks.”

“Delusion is the cornerstone of happiness,” she offers with a snort. “You sure you don’t need a little help? You look too grounded.”


Zoe Brock

Dice Day

August 6th, 2009
by Zoe Brock


The only reason I’m writing this story is because I rolled a four.

I suppose I’d better explain.

My boyfriend and I woke up at 5am. He has jet-lag after arriving home last night from a two-week trip to Serbia and I’m recovering from a month long intensive course in Yoga teacher training that has left my sleep patterns in tatters.

5am is a kooky time.

At 5am the world is quiet and the day stretches out before you like happy infinity.

At 5am the possibilities seem endless and the decision making somewhat daunting, so we cracked out the Backgammon board, pilfered a die from the game and started rolling.

Roll # 1 - an even number we have eggs and toast and a cup of tea, odd number we have cereal and coffee. We rolled a three. Neither of us drink coffee. We are currently very awake.


Sung J. Woo

Book Review: J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand

August 6th, 2009
by Sung J. Woo


Every time I open a new book of fiction, there’s a part of me that hopes for the improbable: to encounter something new, something utterly original.  So as you can imagine, I’m let down a lot.  But sometimes I get lucky.

It’s been two weeks since I finished reading J. Robert Lennon’s Pieces for the Left Hand, but here’s this little gem of a book, still sitting on my desk.  I don’t know when I’ll return this paperback to its designated shelf, but it won’t be anytime soon, for I keep going back to it, reading one of the 100 anecdotes in this collection at random, smiling and chuckling along the way.


Simon Smithson

Strange Things are Afoot at the Circle K

August 2nd, 2009
by Simon Smithson


It started with a lottery ticket.

I was in a newsagency, buying a pack of gum. I had five bucks in my wallet that I had assigned no particular purpose to, the Division One prize had been jackpotting for weeks, eventually reaching a total of AU$90,000,000 (or a penny in American dollars), and one person in three in the whole country had bought a ticket. So I figured, Hey, why not? I’ll get in on this action. After all, I deserve that money way more than any of these other chumps. God knows I’ve worked hard all my life to avoid rising above adversity, helping others, or being a decent human being in any way, shape, or form. It’s about time I got rewarded for my efforts. Also, Papa needs a new pair of shoes.



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.


Lance Reynald

Recapping a Tour, or The Mirror Conspiracy Comes Full Circle

July 19th, 2009
by Lance Reynald


There have been names thrown out over the years: Arrogant. Enigmatic. Freak. Media Whore. Self-indulgent. Vain. Narcissistic.

All names that suggest I’ve been spotted, seen and made note of. Words that the people closest to me find laughable and would say are totally off base. There is no owners manual for living with these words. I suppose it’s presumed that when these words come into play that you are immune to the effects of them. No self help books to give you perspective, no wisdom or advice for you.