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There’s a bluebird in your heart

Archive for the ‘Nicotine’ Category

Kip Tobin

The Athiest and the Believer

November 8th, 2009
by Kip Tobin


The atheist and the believer walked together on the path that followed the highway, looking for light.

Everything visible was dampened gray, as if some colossal waterlogged blanket was thrown on top of their sky and hung there, dripping. Incessant raindrops had been pricking their faces for over two hours, and the cutting wind foretold the road ahead without visible end. The others had gone ahead, and they couldn’t see anything except for the highway to their right, the miry path directly in front and the snow-quilted fields to the left that were melting reluctantly in the cold rain.

The panorama was muddy, leaden, soppy.


Ryan Day

Bio-Baby Daddy?

October 9th, 2009
by Ryan Day


I was sitting on a patio watching a lightning storm over the mountains that linger at every edge of the valley when a couple of girls walked up to my table.

“Are you having a good night?” the tall one screamed into my ear, startling me into spilling a little beer on my pants. There was an athletic grey rabbit tattooed on her neck.

“No!” I screamed in return.

“Why not?” she screamed back, disappointed.

“Cause it’s hot as hell and everyone in this town’s brains seem to have melted!”

She tilted her head sideways like a puppy in an earnest attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible. Now she spoke in a normal tone. “Do you ever just wanna dance like a hippie?”



Steve Sparshott

Last Train

October 9th, 2009
by Steve Sparshott


There was a figure on the wrong side of the railing. Hunched, legs dangling over the water, left hand on the edge of the brickwork clutching a smoking cigarette. I kept an eye on him as I passed; he raised the fag to his mouth with a sudden movement, inhaled and put it back down just as abruptly. (more…)

Stefan Kiesbye


September 21st, 2009
by Stefan Kiesbye


My father drove a blue Opel Kadett. I was three, maybe four, and for this particular trip – maybe up north to my grandparents who lived close to the Danish border — he’d received a company car, a green Ford Coupe with a black vinyl top. I don’t remember what made it necessary, but the new, large car was exciting, and my sister and I had extra room in the back, even though the Ford had a sloping roofline. We were much too small to hit our heads.


Oksana Marafioti

A Thousand Words: On the Film Set

September 14th, 2009
by Oksana Marafioti


My cousin and I are sitting on a kitchen windowsill, smoking. We’re seven.

Outside, Moscow is blooming. Inside, we’re extras in a WWII-themed flick called Sisters, or Girlfriends. I can’t remember for sure. In this scene two women argue about so many damn Gypsies running around town. It’s intense. My cousin and I are supposed be acting like we’re talking, smoking, laughing. We’re so excited we can barely do that.

One of the two women is a famous Soviet actress. She’s crying. We can’t help admiring her skills, but we’re actors, too. So, we talk and smile, and we make sure to smoke as much as possible during the scene, because our parents would break our fingers if we tried it for real. In the name of art, we light one cigarette after another.


Jessica Anya Blau

A Thousand Words: Smoking With an Asthmatic Baby

August 31st, 2009
by Jessica Anya Blau


You might remember my mother, Bonnie Blau, from the interview I did with her about a year ago.  We talked about the fact that she thinks she looks like Bruce Springsteen.  You can read that interview here.  As a follow up, here’s an interview with my mother where I ask her about one of my favorite photos.  It’s the only picture I have of me as a little kid with my mother.

Do you remember where this photo was taken?

It was taken by your dad in Watertown, Massachusetts. 

What was that time of life like for you? 

It was nice.  We lived in a nice place.  All our friends were the same age and had children the same age. And life was pretty simple.  We didn’t have any money but life was simple because taking care of kids is simple.  And everyone was in the same situation so it was one of those nice situations.  If I needed someone to take care of you, someone would come over.  And the kids could go in and out and run outside.  Although you didn’t go out much, you mostly stayed with me.  And when you went out you took off all your clothes.  You were bad.  You were good, but funny.  It was a nice time of life.  Everyone was equal.  There was one family the Dugans* that lived two houses down.  They were kind of out of place because he was an alcoholic and


Simon Smithson

The Dumbest Thing I have Ever Said

August 29th, 2009
by Simon Smithson


Not the dumbest thing I have ever thought, mind you. That honour goes to a moment when I was walking down Castro Street in San Francisco, glanced across the street, and saw a burger joint called Sliders. And into my head came the thought Huh. I wonder if that’s a whole place themed after that Jerry O’Connell show from the mid-90s?

This was followed, instantly, by There it is, Simon. Right there. That’s the single stupidest thing you will ever think in your entire life.


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!”


Simon Smithson

Sweet Liberty!

July 25th, 2009
by Simon Smithson


I will forever be indebted to my friend Luke for many things. Among them, his habit of using the exclamation ‘Sweet Liberty!’ where other people would happily drop the F-bomb. What started out as irony on his part has become, to me, one of the most endearing traits of his conversational character. I also owe him a debt for introducing me to the concept of the third option. Luke, a man of cunning and repose, taught me about this years ago. When stuck in a bind, he said, when both going forward or moving back look equally unattractive, look for the third option. It’s always there, just not immediately recognisable. (more…)

Greg Olear

Just a Cigar

July 21st, 2009
by Greg Olear


There are certain hobbies that, while possessed of an inherent appeal, I would never take up because the subculture attached to them so repels me.

Take golf. I enjoy whacking the little white ball—I’m pretty good on the driving range, truth be told—but I would never go so far as to play the game for the simple reason that I don’t want to spend a whole afternoon with golfers.

Marijuana is another example. Pleasant though the high may be, no amount of stonedness could hip me to hackeysack and Grateful Dead bootlegs.


Brin Friesen

Wet Matches II

July 17th, 2009
by Brin Friesen


“I’m a romantic; a sentimental person thinks things will last, a romantic person hopes against hope they won’t.”

-F. Scott Fitzgerald

She’d told me she enjoyed the walks to the boys houses more than the boys.


Brin Friesen

Wet Matches

July 14th, 2009
by Brin Friesen


I was waiting for her.

I’d found a room near the Prado in a pension that was being run as a transvestite brothel. They called me “El Guapo” passing me in the hallways. They worked outside the gates of the Parque del Retiro while the Moroccans sold hash inside the gates or near the pond with the rowboats. The Moroccans even had business cards. It was very civilized.


Kip Tobin

The Electrifying Conclusion to One of the Sloppiest International Moves in Recent History, or Everything (Supposedly) Happens for a Reason

June 16th, 2009
by Kip Tobin


“Passport?” At 3 am I jolt upright in bed. “Where’s my passport?” In 12 hours I’m to get on a plane on an international flight back to the US–to move back after living her for six years–and at that instant a something massive and visceral smacks me awake. I hadn’t seen my passport in a few days. Inés wakes up, asks what’s wrong, says she’ll always lucky at finding things and that she’ll help me look for it. From 3 to 4 am we search all three pieces of luggage and every corner, shelf and nook throughout the apartment. Nowhere. It’s gone. A numbness covers me, because as I think about when I last saw it and where it should be, I can only deduce that I most likely threw it away, inadvertently. Because this final move consisted of giving away, disposing of or recycling all the surplus, I conclude that I either tossed it in the trash, gave it to a friend in some heap of a donation, or it went in the paper recycling bin along with hundreds of other papers that didn’t make the cut.

That’s right, I threw away my passport and realize it 13 hours before my flight.


Zara Potts

Suck and Blow

May 15th, 2009
by Zara Potts


I’ll admit it. I’m a smoker. I’m an addict.

Society’s new pariah.

One of those sad human beings who has nothing better to do than suck a shitload of smoke into my lungs and blow it out over as many innocent bystanders as possible.

It’s why I do it. Just to cause other people harm and distress and start them off on the road to lung cancer.


Brin Friesen

Straight, No Chaser

April 28th, 2009
by Brin Friesen


Double-whammy, the curse of bumping into Swimming Pool Girl again and an hour later sailing over the handlebars of my bike like some fucking human crossbow onto a busy street landing on my thumb, permanently eliminating my prospects for a southpaw career in hitchhiking… 

Out of the corner of my eye I saw her antique bike leaning against a parking meter. I’d never seen that bike before but I knew it was hers. The shark infested turquoise color of her bike matched the color of her eyes. I looked inside the window of the cafe:

She was darting around the joint like a video game fairy delivering little 10am potions to cure hangovers. Swimming Pool Girl always reminds me I need to write a story about a cat-burglar who tries to rob someone and ends up falling in love with who lives there. Swimming Pool Girl is a 110-pound feminine powder keg for writer’s block. Ten seconds inside the door—five years since I last saw her—she mentions she’s been constipated for the last five days. Nearly reason enough, she says, to take back up smoking. 


Paul A. Toth

My Smokin’ Celebrity Interview with Sean Penn

April 13th, 2009
by Paul A. Toth


Since nearly every interview with Sean Penn immediately notes that he lights cigarettes with the regularity of old women on prune juice, Sean Penn lit his third cigarette before our interview had begun. He spent that time gazing at me as if I were some sort of fantastic form of quartz. He is, and will always be, one of Hollywood’s foremost geologists, digging up jewels of roles, which he then polishes like a rock tumbler. He lit a cigarette before finishing the other one and smoked the two simultaneously. Soon, he was smoking fifteen cigarettes at the same time. He put on his sunglasses, took them off, and put them on again. It’s a useless actor’s ploy, and he was being ironic, I’m sure of it. (more…)

Simon Smithson

The Grass Always Makes You Stronger on the Other Side

March 29th, 2009
by Simon Smithson


I had just finished telling a friend about a project I had recently launched, only to nervously watch it struggle to gain altitude and airspeed, wobble, and come shakily back down to earth. He commiserated, made all the right sympathetic noises, finished the last of his coffee, and said ‘Well, you know, it’s better to have tried and failed than never tried at all.’

‘No,’ I said. ‘Incorrect. It’s better to have tried and succeeded than never tried at all.’

People don’t always like it when you say things like that. (more…)

Reno J. Romero

Janus’ Curse: Cigarettes and Doubt in the New Year’s Resolution

December 28th, 2008
by Reno J. Romero



It’s around this time of the year that we reflect on the year that was. We look back at the months, the days - mind pushed in reverse, remembering things, conversations, people.

We do this. Every year like clockwork. Looking over our shoulder then looking straight. One foot inside the door, one foot out. It’s part of the deal.

Adam Duritz of the Counting Crows put his end-of-the-year-thoughts to song in “A Long December.” A beautiful tune loaded with nostalgia and hope. (more…)

Ben Loory

Funerals I Have Been To

December 1st, 2008
by Ben Loory


I wrote this today on line at Chipotle.
The girl in front of me tried to cheer me up.
“It’s okay,” I said, “I’m just working on a story.”
“I guess it’s not a funny one,” she said.


Jason Rice

Confessions of a Don’t Know it All

November 19th, 2008
by Jason Rice


I guess it’s a good thing that Nick Belardes and his post got me thinking about the generation I’m part of. I went to art school and for the longest time, ( I was living in New York City) I thought everyone in my class was the last generation to really make a difference, or a statement, guys like Eric White, Chuck Stone, Jill Greenberg (all graduated in front of me), just to name a few, who were all making their mark.  I started going to parties on rooftops, went to Anthony Avildsen’s place and hung out with other movers and shakers, (his father directed Rocky) and ran into Oliver Berkman from time to time, he wrote Kicking and Screaming with Noah Baumbach, and most of the characters in that movie were based on people from our graduating year at college (I went to school with Oliver, not Noah Baumbach, but the guy named Skippy in that movie is directly based on someone in our class, along with everyone else in that movie, Oliver might argue that, but that’s what I heard, and the real Skippy wanted to play the role).  So I thought for some reason that this would all bleed over to me.  Why not? I was there, part of it all, in the City with all this talent. Then I got the call to go to France and teach photography to American students. A year later I came back and realized no one waited for me.  Everyone was off getting their illustrations published in the New York Times Book review; having one man shows, publishing novels, writing more novels, and then Quentin Tarantino hit and I thought I could be a screenwriter.  God, what a disaster, I wrote like a teenager with Tourettes and dyslexia, a funny combination if your walking down the street randomly talking about the world, not so much if you’re trying to write a screenplay.