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James van Maanen

Interesting, poetic post. And we ALL go thru it, Matt -- those of us who prefer the (somewhat) examined life, at least. Re: (Oddly this never happens when watching teevee â€" no matter how bad the show â€" which is both its gift and its curse.) I don't watch TeeVee but I do watch movies, and the same thing occurs. It's because these media involve us in OTHER people's lives, and we can escape from our own. (Even watching crappy newscasts has this effect. With a book, however, we can easily look away from the page for a moment -- and reflect. TV and film do not lend themselves nearly as well to reflection.

John Anthony

"There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish. The thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember Scrooge, time is short, and suddenly, you're not here any more."
-- "Scrooge" (1970)


Another gay recluse in Washington Heights here, struggling daily with a nearly identical inner monologue.

Years ago, while digging through used books at The Strand, a '50s detective novel caught my eye. The plot synopsis on the back cover read: "It started in a sunny kitchen...and ended in a pool of blood!" Isn't that a great metaphor for life?

It all just is what it is. We fade in...lurch about...fade out...and don't none of it make no nevermind. The source of our terrors is the gap between things as they are, and things as we wish they could be. The gap widens as we get older, unless we get clear and sane and steely about it.

"Indispensable condition for spiritual fulfillment: to have always placed the wrong bet."
-- E.M. Cioran


While waiting for sane, steely clarity to kick in, I'm hoping to win that $75,000,000 Powerball so that I, too, can live below 96th Street. (I moved to the Heights thirty years ago!)

Love your writing. Hang in there, kiddo.


A few months ago I went to a taxes for artists session that was given by a man who switched from being a photographer to a CPA. We got to talking afterwards and he said that the grinding usesless of earning money via weddings and then low paying artistic gigs finally wore him down. He wanted a real life. "Sounds like a great idea," I said. "But no," he said, "look at you, you chose to stick it out with writing." Without thinking about it I said, "This wasn't a choice. I had no choice. In no way did I choose this--it chose me." The thing is, if you had practiced law and made a lot of money but this chose you anyway, it would be waiting for you every day of your life--it would be at the foot of your bed in the morning and sitting on your chest in the evening. At least let yourself off the hook about choosing.


Commenter "Brooks" writes:

"The source of our terrors is the gap between things as they are, and things as we wish they could be. The gap widens as we get older, unless we get clear and sane and steely about it."

How eloquent an observation on the conundrum of Expectations.

And oh my, yes, how the gap has widened.

Seth Tisue

"Few people in mid-life really know how they got to be what they are,
how they came by their pastimes, their outlook, their wife, their
character, profession, and successes, but they have the feeling that
from this point on nothing much can change. It might even be fair to
say that they were tricked, since nowhere is a sufficient reason to be
found why everything should have turned out the way it did; it could
just as well have turned out differently; whatever happened was least
of all their own doing but depended mostly on all sorts of
circumstances, on moods, the life and death of quite different people;
these events converged on one, so to speak, only at a given point in
time. In their youth, life lay ahead of them like an inexhaustible
morning, full of possibilities and emptiness on all sides, but already
by noon something is suddenly there that may claim to be their own
life yet whose appearing is as surprising, all in all, as if a person
had suddenly materialized with whom one had been corresponding for
some twenty years without meeting and whom one had imagined quite
differently. What is even more peculiar is that most people do not
even notice it; they adopt the man who has come to them, whose life
has merged with their own, whose experiences now seem to be the
expression of their own qualities, and whose fate is their own reward
or misfortune. Something has done to them what flypaper does to a fly,
catching it now by a tiny hair, now hampering a movement, gradually
enveloping it until it is covered by a thick coating that only
remotely suggests its original shape..." (Robert Musil)


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Gods final



A young boy wanders into the woods of Harlem and witnesses the abduction of his sister by a glowing creature. Forty years later, now working as a New York City homicide detective, Gus is assigned to a case in which he unexpectedly succumbs to a vision that Helen is still alive. To find her, he embarks on an uorthodox investigation that leads to an ancient civilization of gods and the people determined to bring them back.

In this colossal new novel from the author of The Metropolis Case, the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice collides with a new religion founded by three corporate office workers, creating something beautiful, illogical, and overwhelming. Part sex manifesto, part religious text, part Manhattan noir—with a dose of deadly serious, internet inspired satire—#gods is a sprawling inquest into the nature of faith and resistance in the modern world. With each turn of the page, #gods will leave you increasingly reborn.

Praise for #gods

“#gods is a mystery, an excavation of myths, an index of modern life, a gay coming-of-age story, an office satire, a lyrical fever dream, a conspiracy. One of the most ambitious novels in recent memory—and a wild, possibly transformative addition to the canon of gay literature—it contains multitudes, and seethes with brilliance.” —Mark Doten, author of The Infernal

“Matthew Gallaway’s #gods is a novel so brilliant, so funny, so full of strange and marvelous things, I couldn’t stop writing OMG WTF I <3 THIS SO MUCH in its margins. It’s rare to find a novel that so dazzlingly reinvigorates age-old meditations on faith and f&!*ing, art and eros. Luminous, enterprising, and sublimely cheeky, #gods tells the story, the myth, the dream of the human soul in all its glorious complexity.” —Suzanne Morrison, author of Yoga Bitch

“Matthew Gallaway’s storytelling manages to be both dreamy and serious; lean and luxurious. His words carry an incantatory power of mythic storytelling where beauty and savagery wrap around each other like bright threads in a gorgeous tapestry.” —Natasha Vargas-Cooper, author of Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America

“If the ancient gods were just like us, only more so, then the same could be said for this strange, wonderful book, in which the mundane sorrows and small triumphs of very ordinary lives glow ever so slightly around the edges, sometimes quite literally. At once an oddly romantic send-up of dead-end office culture and an offbeat supernatural procedural, #gods is terrifically weird, melancholy, sexy, and charming.” —Jacob Bacharach, author of The Bend of the World

The Metropolis Case

'It’s to the credit of Matthew Gallaway’s enchanting, often funny first novel that it doesn’t require a corresponding degree of obsession from readers, but may leave them similarly transported: the book is so well written — there’s hardly a lazy sentence here — and filled with such memorable lead and supporting players that it quickly absorbs you into its worlds.'

-- The New York Times

Music: Death Culture at Sea and Saturnine

Listen or download songs and records from my indie-rock past with Saturnine here and Death Culture at Sea here.

Music Video: Remembrance of Things Past

Watch the rock opera Remembrance of Things Past written and performed by Saturnine and Frances Gibson, starring Bennett Madison and Sheila McClear.

Video: The Chaos Detective

The Chaos Detective is a series about a man searching for 'identity' as he completes assignments from a mysterious organization. Watch the first episode (five parts) on YouTube.

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