Untitled (To the Spider in my Living Room)

I just saw something odd out of the corner of my eye.

I'm home alone, relaxing on the couch after a long day. Skimming through some blogs, texting my mom about nothing, listening to Bob Dylan again. Something just floated across my peripheral vision.


Well, okay, that's a spider. Floating in mid-air.

A tan little spindly thing about the size of a twenty-cent coin. She must have cast her line down from the radiator pipes criss-crossing the ceiling and has come down, assuming any reasonable human will be fast asleep at this hour, to have a look around and catch a midnight snack. Now she's just hovering there suspended against gravity, her silk completely invisible, stretching her front legs languidly, searching through the void.

She holds still, then stretches and somersaults, then freezes motionless again. I'm not afraid of her. She has no designs on hurting me, her goal is the fruit flies that I can't seem to rid the kitchen of. She's probably more afrai…

Beacon Theatre, November 21

Well, I'm livin' in a foreign country but I'm bound to cross the line
Beauty walks a razor's edge, someday I'll make it mine
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born
Come in, she said
I'll give ya shelter from the storm

The house is dark, the stage barely lit by a deep blue glow. The band hurries out to their places, heads down, all business. The audience whispers as one.

The blue turns to bright white and he walks out with a dazed gait, squinting under the house lights. He's as skinny as a cigarette and his white jacket hangs loose on his shoulders. His hair is a billow of smoke.

He sits at the piano like any workaday saloon entertainer, scowling into the microphone. And then, his voice.

I know the cynical aching poetry of the young Dylan. Now his voice is like boots on a gravel road, the electric band can drown him out, his words are swallowed in noise. But it's still his voice.
Yes, I received your letter yesterday, about the t…


There are two kinds of pubs in the theater district. One is the kind with the ten-foot-tall illuminated shamrock hanging from the eaves and a fake Irish name blinking three stories high in carnival lights. These tend to be deserted after about 9 pm because their clientele needs to get up early to see the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, Chinatown and the 9/11 memorial before lunch.
Then there’s the smaller, darker, grumpier kind, where waiters and bartenders and busboys shuffle wearily in at the end of their shifts to share the space with the writers and actors and stagehands who still work in the neighborhood. I’m usually there around 11:30, alone at the bar with a book and a beer, trying to remember who I am.
I’m reading a book on my Kindle and the screen’s artificial glow feels intrusive and embarrassing, out of place in the grungy noir. And then Peter Dinklage slides up to the bar with his laptop. It isn’t really Peter Dinklage – too tall – but his face and hi…

Manuscripts don't burn

So I'm fascinated with typewriters at the moment. A classic case of medium overshadowing message, but I'm convinced that a typewriter would make me a better writer. Just me and the page and the ink smudges, no Spotify or Twitter to distract me, a forced slowing down of time. A return to the era when writing meant something. I would instantly become Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, Zelda Fitzgerald. My editor would come around in a pinstripe suit and newsboy cap, gnawing on a cigar, and the authenticity would be transcendent. Unfortunately, typewriters are both expensive and impractical, so I did what any good twentysomething would do and found a typewriter simulation app for my computer. It's called Winston. It shows you a graphic of a typewriter with animated paper (you can set "pristine", "sepia" or "crumpled") and makes old-fashioned clickety-clack sounds as you type. The carriage return dings its little bell. Hitting back-space produces a h…