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My Bad

As usual I’ve been a bad blogger. Potential blog entries I watched float into view and then watched float downstream and over the falls:

1. My trip to DC for a conference: where I attended Pentecost Mass at St. Augustine’s, an amazing African American Catholic church–full gospel choir, and far-out dancing combined with all the usual smells and bells, not to mention a kick-ass homily in which it was stated that none of that stuff necessarily had anything to do with the movement of the Holy Spirit.

2. My DC conference experience, part 2: including locking my laptop and keys in the trunk of my rental car and spending five hours extricating them when I needed to be working on my presentation. In the process of getting into the trunk, I had managed to drop my glasses down into the guts of the car behind the back seat. I crawled into the trunk to grope around for the glasses and set the keys down inside the trunk again, eventually found the glasses somewhere near the rear axle, climbed out of the trunk, and shut it. Heart stopped. Keys. In the trunk. Again. But then I gave it a little yank and it opened, as if by a movement of the Holy Spirit. By then it was time to watch the Lost grand finale and then the post-Lost Jimmy Kimmel special. So I stayed up all night polishing up my presentation and had a long bleary day in which my presentation was delivered in a delirium of waking dreams and Lost key musings.

3. The assuagement of my latent MFA longings: wherein I get to set aside my librarian beanie with the plastic propeller on top and don the psychedelic top hat of fictive fabulousness to serve as a third reader for some creative writing MFA thesis defenses here at Scablands U (my employer). The highlight: a collection of stories by a young man named Brandon Getz. Funny as shit and great stuff, in the vein of Jonathan Lethem, with offbeat sci-fi elements. Keep an eye on this guy!

4. Jonathan Lethem: I’ve had Lethem on my radar for awhile, but fairly peripherally. Now I definitely want to read him. The sci-fi/pop culture stuff referenced by the above MFA student is intriguing. Not only that, Lethem is a huge Bob Dylan fan (after my own heart and the hearts of others hereabouts) and published a fantastic interview piece not long ago that is very worthwhile reading.

5. What put Lethem on my radar initially, in addition to the Dylan interview, was that another of my favorite living writers, and a guy I bump into on occasion at the coffee shop across from my daughter’s pre-school, namely Jess Walter, referenced Lethem somewhere on his website, as I recall, and said something laudatory, if memory serves.

6. Speaking of Jess Walter: his latest book, The Financial Lives of the Poets, kicks ass. Jess describes writing it as having been like sticking your head out the car window as it’s crashing. A real-time look at our national financial plunge, and one out-of-work newspaper writer’s sleep-deprived response to that plunge. A very funny, very sad, very lovely piece of work.

7. Korrektiv Press (the gritty stepsister of Webb’s Ebey Island Press) is poised to publish a book of poems by myself, many of which have appeared here in the blog. I’m planning to put my real name on the book (Rufus McCain being the name of a convict and resident of Alcatraz that was murdered by fellow inmate Henri Young back in the early 20th Century). I’ve thought about using Rufus’s name for the book, but Rufus isn’t sure he wants anything to do with it. I forced my fellow Korrektivites to read the manuscript, got some American-Idol like feedback (JOB filling in nicely for Simon: “hackneyed”–ouch) and now I’m rehashing it a bit and hope to have it ready for the printer by the end of the month.

8. Tenure: I (well not the Rufus I, but the other guy) got it, and it was a big frickin’ relief. Now that part of my brain that was a big sagging slobbery balloon of worry is starting to fill up with visions of sabbaticals and sugar plumbs and what not.

9. Maxed out credit cards. Consumer credit counseling options (bumping some of those sugar plumbs out of my daydreams). Summer job possibilities? (I have July and August off.) I thought bartending might be a good idea–after the kids are asleep and Mrs. McCain is working on her photo edits–but Mrs. McCain shook her head derisively and laughed at me. She doesn’t think I could hack it. (I get no respect.) A young man’s game and I’m too old to learn those bartending tricks, she thinks. Other ideas? Freelance writing? Freelance research? Lemonade stand? Begging at the corner of Division and Third with a cardboard sign: “Summer off without pay, credit cards maxed out, kids hungry. Please help. Woe is me.”

10. Not to mention: all those Year of the Priest movies I haven’t watched, my take on Lost (contra Lickona’s?), the Korrektiv Summer Reading Klub, the latest MURG research and attached earlobe info, my story about Binx Bolling’s trip to Spokane to visit Stanley Kunchen during the World’s Fair in 1974, Bloomsday yesterday (“Here comes everybody”) and my fleeting notion of how appropriate (and yet still too daunting amid all these other loose-ended worries and desires) it would be to catch that wave and embark on a summer reading of Ulysses, etc, etc etc.


  1. Matthew Lickona says

    Hackneyed? You mean JOB was allowed to comment on content? Howcum I was restricted to save/eliminate status? Huh? Howcumhowcumhowcum? It's because he's a poet, isn't it? Isn't it? With his big, sexy stanzas and his hot little scansion. I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS.

    You're a bad blogger, Rufus. Bad, bad, bad.

    But still handsome! And tenured! And soon to be published!

  2. Rufus McCain says

    I told him not to, but he couldn't help himself.

  3. Rufus McCain says

    It was like asking a fish not to swim.

  4. Rufus McCain says

    Besides you got your lick in, too: "Some of the limericks don't even scan."

  5. Matthew Lickona says

    Yes, it was right after that that you asked me to shut my piehole and stick to save/eliminate. But I understand.

  6. "sexy stanzas and his hot little scansion"

    I'm reading this at work and my coworkers are beginning to wonder if I've gone off my nut I'm laughing so hard.

    So you want it sexy and hot and little…OK.

    One sexy hot and little Rabbit Cage of erotic impulses coming right up…


  7. Very hearty congratulations, Rufus, on the tenure. That's got to be a big load off your shoulders.

    Gambling can be a good way to earn money.

  8. Jonathan Webb says

    I know a guy…nothing illegal, I mean, nothing really that bad. Not dangerous at all; really a slam dunk. We'll provide everything you need. In and out and you'll be set.

    Trust me.

  9. Jonathan Webb says

    Yeah, kudos on the tenure. I posted something about that and then deleted it because I didn't want you to get into trouble. Something about buggering the bursar.

  10. Had a friend, Rufus, who went through Tenure – like disembowlment – but without the benefit of death meeting him at the end…

    Good on ya, for sticking through it.

    When I see you, I will shower you with beers…


  11. Rufus McCain says

    Merci, mon freres.

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