On My Son's Eighteenth Birthday



Eighteen years ago my son was born.

That Friday night we watched the Braves finish a sweep of the Reds in the NLCS from the hospital.

Two weeks later they won the World Series.

Good Fortune.

I visited my son at his school a few days ago to celebrate his birthday.

It was Friday.

We ate Thai Food.

We opened presents in the park, eating Key Lime Pie under a gray sky near dusk.

We stand up straighter around each other now, since we are both men.

A homeless man wandered up, awkwardly asking for money.

I gave him what I could, an act unworthy of either applause or condemnation.

Today is my son’s birthday, and we all celebrate.

The man thanked us and walked across the park with purpose.

That night, unbeknownst to him, he would be joining our own celebration, if he spent his money on booze or rent or shoes or drugs or a woman or maybe even his own son, he would join with us, celebrating such a day.

Good Fortune.

We packed away our gifts and pie, the spoils of the night…

…a chess set, a bible…

…,as the final stray rays of the slowly dying sun leaked out from under the blanket of gray clouds as it fell toward the horizon, illuminating only the very tops of the buildings around us with an orange-pink luminescence, each of the towers glowing like a burning match atop a cake made for our celebration.

The darkened windows of the buildings burned with the fading sun’s reflection, piercing eyes staring like an October Jack-o-Lantern into a bright and joyous future.

I blinked twice, and it all had passed.


On Art and Poop

After reading about the finalists for the famed Turner Prize, whose recipient for 2012 will be named shortly  ( ), I became thoughtful on the nature of art and specifically upon the properties of that which we call "art." Paul Noble, the favorite to win this year, is well known for his "excremental city" Nobson, intensely designed drawings of a mythological city in which he uses fecal matter. I am not horrified by this, as some might be. In essence, i don't care about the medium so much as I care about the experience encountering the work. Does it change someone's opinion of the work to discover the nature of its properties? Would Lovecraft's Necronomicon be less awe inspiring as a tome if it was not human flesh that bound its pages? Or would we experience it differently? If a work in the field of Visual Arts is only interesting because it is real blood, or poop, or kitchen cleanser, is it relevant? If it is a work intended to stir us emotionally through our sense of sight, yet the focus seems to be on its properties appealing to us on an intellectual level, making us question WHY it is drawn in fecal matter, what does that mean? We spend our time asking "How do I interpret this?" as opposed to being emotionally affected by its beauty, or ugliness, or grandeur.

Taking it outside of the art world, do the properties of an item surpass the item itself? A friend of mine has a knife made out of a meteorite. Does that change the nature of the knife? What if it is actually not made out of a meteorite but he has been told that it is? Is it therefore diminished in some way, without his knowing? Outside of the financial value, does a diamond have more visual value than its indistinguishable fake counterpart? Ultimately, what Paul Noble's work asks us to answer is this: Is the IDEA of an item more important than the item itself?


Camp Croft on Thanksgiving

Camp Croft on Thanksgiving

A tree felled by a massive storm over the summer. My son displaying the size of the root bundle, nearly ten feet high.


Another Morning, Cool and Gray

A drizzly night, one of the gray days of thanksgiving. I never want the sun to shine in November. I like the days gray and the nights clear, moonlight filtered by the ghosts of trembling leaves through neighborhoods whose streetlights seem overcome with dark, an unmoving will-o-the-wisp, drawing us no further. The long nights offer more time for dreaming, which might be good for some, but which usually has me awake by 4am considering the most recent monstrosity that has ravaged my rest. The past two evenings involved dreams of a young woman giving birth to something slightly less (more?) than human and my shooting a good friend in the head and then tossing his body in the ocean. I did feel guilty, however, in both dreams. My Catholic/Pentecostal upbringing still in play. 

And each November day the nights creep longer...


My Very Very Very First Post

So how can a post be "very" first, you ask yourself? That is a question for a more stable mind with much larger amounts of black coffee pulsing through his veins. As for this morning, the simplest of facts without traces of embellishment (i.e., my usual lies) are all that I can manage. In brief, I am a professor at Emory University in Atlanta, housed within the generous confines of the Department of Theater Studies. I only teach what I know (or don't [teach or know]). This fine morning the rich blackness of my caffeine drip enables the pinspot of my mind's eye to make the following two statements I perceive as fact: 1. Skyfall is one of the top ten Bond films, but does not crack the top five and certainly does not even sniff the number one position as certain critics have suggested. and 2. The final week of Grim, Grimmer, Grimmest: Tales of a Precarious Nature will begin the final week of its all too brief run tonight in the MGM theatre at Emory. So come see it! It is dark, delirium inducing and might be hazardous to your health, both that of your brain and body.

I prefer things in threes, but a third fact eludes my tenuous grasp on the reality of morning. I am sure that some things are obvious. My lamp is on. It is cooler than June. Those types of things. But the relentless tedium of the obvious prevents its publication. Time to get the day going.