“Then he pushed Maria Menounos to the ground and said, ‘Get away…you’re annoying me.’…Mom says that’s not what happened, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I remember happening.”—What my father remembers of an interview with Matt Damon he watched on Access Hollywood.
Take a piece of bread. I used potato bread from Giant Eagle. Put it in the toaster your grandparents gave you last year. This is how your grandparents gave you this toaster: they came to see your little brother in a play and brought an old toaster of theirs in the trunk of their car. When your parents refused the toaster, you accepted, thinking, “I don’t have a toaster!” You have a very distinct memory of your grandfather waving goodbye to you that day, calling from across the street, “Kate! Kate! Make some toast!” Today when you make this snack, you will learn that the toaster is broken. Appreciate for a moment that the toaster made it this far. Open a bottle of buffalo sauce. This is the sort of thing you keep in your cabinet, along with a can of cranberry dressing your mother packed in a paper bag for your trip back to Pittsburgh after Christmas. Put a little buffalo sauce on the toast. Not much! Just a little. Cut some thick slices of cheddar cheese. Make sure that you don’t cut those slices too thick—you’ve already finished half this brick of cheddar, and you need to make it last at least another week, because you have literally no money at all with which to buy more cheese. Place the cheese slices on the piece of bread, and then put the bread in the oven at 450 degrees. Take out when the cheese is melted and enjoy this delicacy I call “Hot Cheese Bread.”
I grew up in a house that saw a typewriter, word processor, and computer in appropriate succession, but I don’t remember, as a child, ever writing seriously in anything but notebooks. I had stacks of marble and spiral-bound notebooks which contained the immensely important (for future biographers) beginnings of my writerhood—including, but not limited to: the first story I ever wrote, at the age of 8, concerning the friendship between a girl and a dolphin and later a dog, I think, which shifted from the third-person to the first-person halfway through the narrative due to, I suspect, the growing influence of The Babysitter’s Club on my conception of literature; first drafts of secret admirer notes which helpfully included drawings of the outfit I planned to wear on the day the note would potentially be delivered, never delivered based on the gentle suggestions of my parents, to whom I will forever be grateful; transcripts of the spats my friends and I would have during recess; a bold but ultimately nonsensical fictionalized account of the life of John Lennon’s oft-forgotten first wife, penned in the 4th grade; and lists and lists and lists of physical descriptions of anyone I could get a good look at from the backseat of the family mini-van, along with the made-up names and occupations I’d supply them.
At thirteen, in a bout of predictable self-loathing, I threw all these childhood notebooks away (an act for which I could still, at any moment, kill myself), and when I wrote, I wrote at the computer in a corner of our freezing basement. I do not remember the make or model of this computer, but I used it in high school to write novella-length fairy tales which tended to appropriate plot twists, dialogue, and full characters out of other works to interact with easily-recognizable versions of myself and my friends. We certainly had internet at this point, but it wasn’t until my senior year that I really used my AOL account as a form of distraction from my schoolwork and stories, although some might say that the work I put into crafting the perfect cryptic away message was a particular form of creative writing. But I hadn’t forsaken my notebooks—it was around this time that I began to write fairly consistently in a journal, and I still recorded half-formed story ideas in the various notebooks that formed a knee-high stack beside my bed.
It’s a bit of a shock now to realize that I’ve given up, more or less, on the spiral notebook. I don’t know how to articulate this exactly—maybe it’s because it’s the same machine on which I write papers and cringeworthy cover letters to potential employers I found on Craigslist, but seeing my words on a computer screen sometimes makes me a little queasy. Since it’s so easy to revise them, it’s sometimes hard to stop revising them. Since they look so nice on that white background in this clean font, it seems like they should be better than they are. But on physical college-ruled paper before me, they’re weird and half-formed and only for me. And there’s something to be said for not being able to record all your thoughts as fast as you can think them—what shows up on the page tends to be more vibrant or important than the rest. And I think that’s a sensation I’d like to feel again. Even if it means killing so very many trees.
on the day a neighbor finally knocks on my door and says, “Excuse me, we’ve never met, but the volume at which you are listening to ‘Goodnight Saigon’/’Where Have All the Cowboys Gone’/’And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going,’ as well as the manner in which you are earnestly singing along, is really not acceptable.”
The Disparate Sludge-like Thoughts of Someone Who Finished Ulysses Today and Can't Really Talk Right Now, You Guys:
Intelligently, we fiction co-editors of Hot Metal Bridge, the University of Pittsburgh’s online literary journal which you guys should really think about submitting to for reals before March 1st, requested that each e-mail should have the subject line “Fiction Submission,” in order to differentiate these e-mails from the multitude of spam we receive daily. However this does not mean that I would not be interested in a piece of short fiction entitled “Enjoy a Prolonged But Controllable Rock-Hard Erection.”
Words I could not spell right the first time in that last section: “multitude” (multidude?) and, PROBLEMATICALLY, “literary” (literaray?)
This morning at 6:35 a.m., I thought that it would be a good idea in my next short story to include a scene wherein a woman gives birth to a wolf. Conferring with fellow students just moments ago, I determined that said wolf should stand as a symbol of Virginia Woolf.
I am so hungry right now. I am so hungry right now. I am so hungry right now.
“(He gives up the ghost. A violent erection of the hanged sends gouts of sperm spouting through his deathclothes on to the cobblestones. Mrs Bellingham, Mrs Yelverton Barry and the Hounourable Mrs Mervyn Talboys rush forward with their handkerchiefs to sop it up.)”—What nobody ever told me about James Joyce’s Ulysses is that it’s funny. They might have told me it was going to be a challenge, or that I would come out of it feeling different about myself or literature or Ireland or human beings or farting, but they never told me that at times, Ulysses resembles nothing quite as much as it resembles a filthy Monty Python sketch. Last night I read most of the “Circe” section right before falling asleep, which might explain why my dreams were rife with particularly heightened and terrifying absurdity: dead families, bears in closets, and me wrapped in a towel in the mall sobbing and trying to make my way to a funeral, but Faith and Lenore are holding me up in an attempt to cover my face in white powder at the make-up counter. Thanks for that, guys.
It’s hard, sometimes, to be such a funny person, because you’re forever demanding that your boyfriend cease paying attention to whatever he’s doing in order to watch you ride an invisible bicycle while you play the E.T. theme on YouTube.
“This time, the anger lasts long enough for Ebert to write it down. He opens a new page in his text-to-speech program, a blank white sheet. He types in capital letters, stabbing at the keys with his delicate, trembling hands: MY TRIBUTE, appears behind the cursor in the top left corner. ON THE FIRST SHOW AFTER HIS DEATH. But Ebert doesn’t press the button that fires up the speakers. He presses a different button, a button that makes the words bigger. He presses the button again and again and again, the words growing bigger and bigger and bigger until they become too big to fit the screen, now they’re just letters, but he keeps hitting the button, bigger and bigger still, now just shapes and angles, just geometry filling the white screen with black like the three squares. Roger Ebert is shaking, his entire body is shaking, and he’s still hitting the button, bang, bang, bang, and he’s shouting now. He’s standing outside on the street corner and he’s arching his back and he’s shouting at the top of his lungs.”—The moment in Chris Jones’s Esquirepiece on Roger Ebert where Ebert discovers that Disney has taken down video of his At the Movies tribute to Gene Siskel is a doozy, emotion-wise.
Selections from My Freshman Year Intro to Dance Final Paper "Ice Dancing: Sport of the Gods"
Ever since the first man strapped the first shank bones of an elk to his feet and propelled himself across a stretch of ice using poles, the world has been captivated by the beauty and athleticism of figure skating.
Yet somewhere in the lonely shadows of figure skating’s gargantuan success lurks its sassy wallflower kid sister: ice dancing.
Ice dancing’s days of anonymity and freezing salt tears are over.
Within these ten pages, one can only pray that the Powers That Be will become concordant, and the world will unite in exclaiming, “Ice dancing is a thing of pulchritude and majesty, and no longer shall it be ignored!”
Ice dancing remains a lonely recluse on the outskirts of civilization.
When the dancer wishes to spice up the costume a bit, they often adorn it with miniature gems of perfection, better known as “sequins.”
The rivalry between figure skating and ice dancing has always been a heated one, capable of melting the very surface on which both sports thrive.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, Americans were feeling bored and restless. When the seasons turned cold and the lakes froze over, what were they to do but sit in their homes, weeping and praying for death?
Though it would never rival figure skating in popularity, and though few would ever really know what it entailed, ice dancing would bravely endure like a helpless mosquito trapped in a glob of amber.
If we embrace ice dancing as the stellar form of dance that it has so long proven itself to be, perhaps we could all learn a little more about the invaluable intricacies of dance, and maybe—just maybe—we could learn a little more about ourselves.
“I have nothing against Ohio or Dayton in particular, but there was simply nothing to do in that town except walk around with a plastic cup waiting for someone to pour beer into it.”—Oh, Jerry Williams, will you ever.
Everyone is an idiot because no one ever thinks to bring a basket of cheeseburgers into work for all their co-workers to partake in. People bring in cupcakes left over from their birthday party this weekend, or chocolate-covered pretzels they don’t want sitting around the house anymore, but no one ever thinks about the cheeseburger-loving girls who don’t eat breakfast. No one ever stops at Five Guys before work and buys two dozen cheeseburgers and skips down the hallway tossing them to anyone they see, people who would be so happy to eat a cheeseburger right now, they’d cry.
Hey, Kevin. Thanks for letting me steal your jokes, and watching full episodes of That’s So Raven with me at midnight, and playing the What Is This Candle’s Scent game with me in Rite-Aid, and telling me that the video we are currently seeing CNN play is not actual video of the Georgian luger dying, when in fact it is, and for looking at me like this sometimes.
I am madly in love with you. Let’s eat some fondue.
Claims Made on the Jennifer Lopez E! True Hollywood Story I Just Spent A Long Time Watching:
"The dress made Jennifer look like a queen. The tuxedos were aristocratic, elegant, and warm. Instead of boutonnieres, they used diamond lapel pins!" (Woman Who May or May Not Have Planned Lopez’s Wedding to Chris Judd, it was unclear)
"I wish he had come to me for advice. I would have told him to say, ‘Look, you need to respect the fact that she is a married woman. Get your butt away from my wife.’…Nice guys finish last!" (Chris Judd’s father, on Ben Affleck’s usurping of Lopez)
"Everyone was talking about it, everyone wanted to see it. The ring was legendary!" (Blonde Entertainment Reporter, on Lopez’s engagement ring from Affleck)
After dancing to this and seeing this I went and drank lots and lots of this with a boy who wishes he was this. I managed somehow, at around this, to get back into this.
Sunday, feeling like this, I suddenly thought this! Though glad I’d managed to retain what little I have left of this, I’d lost this! Which you may recall from this! And which one time also gave us this!
“Im so happy for them.They seem very happy together.God bless their union forever.
I bet some people are really really angry seeing them together again but i just thank God they did not split.”—London-based Daily Mail online commenter Emily Beth provides a thoughtful, God-tastic take on the ongoing relationship between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
“There’s no way for readers to be online, surfing, e-mailing, posting, tweeting, reading tweets, and soon enough doing the thing that will come after Twitter, without paying a high price in available time, attention span, reading comprehension, and experience of the immediately surrounding world.”—YOUR POINT IS VALID, GEORGE PACKER
I just came dangerously close to starting a Twitter account.
Why did I do this? Why didn’t I do this? I don’t have good answers to either question. Lately I’ve been thinking about the gross and necessary world of social networking. I’ve been watching the way my current and former professors—all working writers—utilize Facebook to promote readings and books and stories and articles. I’ve been following lots of writers on Tumblr, in part because I like reading but also because I have this cotton-candy-fairy-tale-rainbow-unicorn hope for the internet, that this can be a place where writers actively support each other and the act of writing and the act of reading. Because, you know, within twenty years or whatever, it’s probable that any book I somehow manage to publish will be read on an iPud (that’s not a typo; that’s what I am guessing Apple will call it when they figure out how to inject the internet directly into our brains), and I should probably start considering the value of having an “internet presence” (blech). Or something.
But I didn’t end up doing it because I truly am sort of worried about what the internet has done to my attention span and I think Twitter might be the last straw before I am Doug, the dog from Up. I also didn’t start an account because the username “katiecoyle” was already taken.
Last night I burst into tears after a couple of episodes of The Office's third season, considering how awful it would have been if in the seven-month window between meeting and dating Kevin, he met a Karen Filipelli.
Earlier this morning I vindictively wrote “Women be shopping!” in the margins of a classmate’s story at a moment where a male character rues his wife’s love of purses, before realizing that he intentionally made his narrator considerably sexist.
I hate all the opinions expressed by anyone on the internet, including myself.