Friday, August 18, 2017

Now Is Not the Time for Punching Nazis

I don't know why my grandfather went off to fight in Europe, or anything specific about what he did when he was there—he didn't like to talk about it and died of cancer before I got a chance to ask him—but I like to think he went to stop a megalomaniac and his Nazi compatriots' evil, racist plan to eradicate the Jews.  

If there ever was a time for punching Nazis, that was it. 

And my grandfather was a gentle, thoughtful man—the sort of man who would see the threat of Hitler and the Nazis and the need to stop them. 

So it's possible that this is why he went to war... but perhaps not all that likely.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hi! I'm Josh, I'm Thirty-Eight, and I Am Below Average...

I read somewhere that the average professional Hollywood screenwriter sold his/her first script at the age of thirty-seven. I am now thirty-eight, with no sale. This means I've passed my Mozart year (he was twelve when he wrote his first opera), my Michelangelo year (he carved his "David" when he was twenty-six), my Jesus year (he saved the entire universe when he was thirty-three), and finally my "you are an average Hollywood screenwriter" year. Le sigh.

Of course, since I'm now older than thirty-seven, the argument could be made that I am above average. Right? Right?!

Monday, August 7, 2017


Mr. Nystrom didn't know what he was unleashing when he told our high school biology class that fifty percent of our semester grade would be for our insect collections. Or maybe he did. Maybe he knew that we'd neglect a lot of other schoolwork to spend our nights shimmying up rough, creosote-soaked light poles with jars in shoulder bags and syringes of formaldehyde clutched between our teeth. Perhaps he cackled a little to see Michael Smith rip off his tattered 1990 World Cup hat at recess and run screaming off through the jungle, to return late for class with the abdomen of a perfect blue morpho butterfly pinched between his fingers—completely oblivious of the blood seeping through his freshly ripped T-shirt.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Jo-Ben's Near Miss

Last night in my dream I broke into my older brother's house and then out through his upstairs window, pushing one of his guards off the roof and prompting an all-out manhunt as I made my escape. My brother's goons were relentless and I was forced to stop repeatedly, pull a gun on them, and explain that it had all been a joke and that if they hurt me in any way, Jo-Ben would probably fire them, or worse.

Eventually I holed up at the ballet. I've never been to the ballet, and was surprised to find it an intensely moving experience. Like, dream-tears-running-down-my-face type moving. When I woke up I was somewhat shaken.

As I ate my breakfast I started thinking of Jo-Ben's visit last month from out in California, when I had randomly remembered a story of his and forced him to tell it at the dinner table, on camera.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017


The toilet in my house is a capricious jerk. Overload it with "material" and it will sometimes go on strike, mutely demanding that I sit there waiting to flush a second and sometimes a third time before it'll swallow its foul load.

I have decided that this is wonderful.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What Does Everyone Do on a Film Set?

I occasionally get asked what all those credits mean at the end of a film. This 25-minute video from Filmmaker IQ gives an accurate breakdown of the credits as you'll see them on a major motion picture. At least, I think it does.

I actually just watched the first part about the above-the-line people to make sure they got writing credits right. For all I know, the rest of it degenerates into a hilarious-but-incorrect detailing of the on-set responsibilities of people like the "Chief Pig-Sticker" and the "Ergonomic Lube Dispenser."


Sunday, July 16, 2017

My hope is built on nothing less than Queen's Bohemic Rhapsodness.

When you're raised in the beating right ventricle of American evangelical Christianity, you're trained that hope comes from one place and one place alone: JesusGodHolySpirittheBible. As an ongoing fan of JesusGodHolySpirittheBible, I'm attuned to the mystical power of this idea and have personally experienced the ways in which it can blow past all rational objections to heal gaping, impossible wounds.

But, but, but...

But now we live in a world where the gurgling right ventricle of American evangelical Christianity seems to exist only to gush putrescent cancer-bile into the body politic, and hope (at least for this country) feels in extra-short supply. It's more an unveiling than anything, but it's an unveiling that hurts because, goshdarnit, it takes something important from me, y'know? It used to feel so GOOD to throw myself into the unthinking togetherness of an ideological mosh-pit and just BE. At some point, though, that got icky.

Sunday, July 9, 2017


for a long, long time I wrote no fresh poems
and then, just now, there was this...


In the morning
when my son’s cherub face smiles down
from his high bed  

—his gently wandering eye synced by night,
but still puffed with sleep—

he slurs his morning,
smooth like a jazz-drum-stop.
Muted, like a deliberate lie
as he declares the peace
of a no-dream-night.


But though I know
and see
I let it go.

I say okay, fine, I’m glad.
Because who wants morning tears?
Who wants fears,
shining back?

Better the placid blur,
the tight smile,
the subtle wave from his tiny fingers
receding into his high bed,

fading off into the sky.

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