Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Twenty-Two Thoughts On A Story


I’m gonna get drunk and read this piece of shit and try not to shoot myself. Not owning a gun makes the task easier, but it’s Florida: I could borrow one from a neighbor.


The main narrative starts with “A Silly Story About the Movies;” the first two chapters are prologue, I suppose. There are other Little Aleppo stories, but they’re jokey throwaways. “The Ballad of Big-Dicked Sheila” isn’t included, and maybe it should be. The Route 77 stories, too.

Christ, I need an editor. What’s Gordon Lish doing nowadays?


So many mistakes. “A Main in Uniform” was supposed to be “A Man in Uniform,” but I pretended I did it on purpose. The number of Gussy’s brothers changes depending on the joke’s requirements. The beginning of this thing has too many jokes, and the ending doesn’t have enough. Themes bubble up and disappear, only to come back forced.


If there were an Olympics for criminals, then Little Aleppo’s team would steal all the medals.

Fuck false modesty: that’s funny.

Will this all be self-pity and self-congratulations?

I’ll try to disguise it, but: yes. Yes, it will.

Least you’re honest.

You and I both know that’s not true.


The Pulaski shouldn’t be background players, but they are. They deserve better. The bit where Tall As The Sun is compared to Fancy Delaware? Should’ve done more of that.


I know what everyone looks like. The Reverend Arcade Jones, and Penny Arrabbiata, and everyone else. Some of them are actors, and others are people I know, and a few folks’ faces just flashed in my mind along with their names. I know exactly what everyone looks like.

And I’m not telling you. Wouldn’t want to ruin it.


Dave Eggers can’t hold my dick.


The best thing about creating a semi-magical world is the amount of hand-waving you can do.


Waiting for inspiration is like waiting for a pizza you never ordered.

Just begin.


Everybody knows Tommy Amici is Frank Sinatra, right? I mean: that wasn’t a secret or anything.

Frankie Nickels isn’t Frankie Knuckles, though. I know there was a famous deejay from Detroit named Frankie Knuckles, but that’s not who Frankie Nickels is. She’s Allison Steele, the Nightbird. Steel = Nickels.


It’s the 90’s, I guess. Little Aleppo exists sans smartphones and apps and the internet in general. Technology bores me and scares me, and I like bars and face-to-face arguments and bookstores, so Little Aleppo doesn’t have any computers.


Either the New Yorker is right and I’m a genius, or I’m a complete idiot. I suspect the latter: there were supposed to be concurrent stories running. Stanton Box’s novels, for one. Sad.


Is anyone a literary agent, or a Medici? I would prefer a Medici, if I’m honest.


Somewhere between 120 and 150 thousand words. 70 chapters times anywhere from 1,500-6,000 words a chapter. I could go through and count, but I won’t: it’s better this way. I like having achieved something nebulous.

“I did something!”

“Great! What?”

“I’m not precisely sure.”

“Awesome, chief.”

The math makes the book somewhere from five to six hundred pages, which is way too fucking long.


My second-grade teacher was Mrs. Solon; third-grade was Mrs. Doyle. Mrs. Stoll was my fourth-grade teacher, and she was my favorite. She was around six feet tall, and broad-shouldered. I learned all the states in Mrs. Stoll’s class, and their capitals, too. Harrisburg, and Jackson, and Sacramento. In third grade, we had learned how to make letters–cursive was still important back then–but in fourth grade, we learned what to do with the letters. Mrs. Stoll taught us how to write. Where to put the commas, and what got capitalized and what didn’t, and the mysteries of the semicolon.

Mrs. Stoll, I’m sorry for how I punctuate.


Most of the names mean something, or made me laugh, but Fancy Delaware came to me in a dream. I woke up and walked out to my living room and wrote “Fancy Delaware was covered in blood” on a scrap of paper.

I don’t know what that says about my mental health.


Christ, I make up a lot of words.


Dickens was right. Stories are told over time, a little bit and then a little bit more. Stories are made to be ducked in and out of, like awnings in the rain.

Good for Dickens: how do you monetize the occasional?

And how do you live with yourself after not killing yourself for using the word ‘monetize?”


“So, what’s it about?”

“America. And drugs and Jesus and dicks. Titties, too.”


When they ask you what it means, smile and say whatever comes to mind.


Some men get drunk and contemplate their mortality, and other men get drunk and hit their children; I like to get drunk and watch Queen videos on YouTube.

I’m a catch.


From here, it’s either suicide or show biz.


  1. #9 is personally relevant as I hate lyric writing.

    Monetize is an ugly word but nothing wrong with getting paid for what you are good at. It is just green energy, unless you are Trump or his ilk.

  2. NoThoughtsOnDead

    July 4, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    While you do need an editor, (a) there’s no shame in that and (b) I would think this is an easier job than many. For example, one wouldn’t cut out all the redundant explanations, but I’d be surprised if 5,000 words didn’t slide away easily because you said the same thing about a place three chapters ago. I’m not a Medici, and not enough of an editor (e.g. never edited a book), but you have my two cents (and bucks through the Donate button, for real).

    • well said. I even agree about the repetitions from episodic writing – in many case they add weight or rhythm

  3. Please pick showbiz – it’s got better bright lights.

  4. Thomas Wilkinson

    July 4, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    22 From here suicide or show biz. Why is it either. You said show biz in 1 and 21, maybe, your world your rules. 1 get drunk and read this shit, maybe. 21 get drunk watch Queen videos, maybe. So 22 show biz, maybe.

  5. i wish i was (were) a literary agent.

  6. Buck Mulligan

    July 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    I’m proud of you friend.

  7. Luther Von Baconson

    July 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm


    • I went to college with Gordo “Mad Dog” Lish’s son who, not surprisingly, is a Deadhead.

      • Thoughts On The Dead

        July 5, 2017 at 11:10 pm

        I read this too quickly, thought that you had gone to school with Lish, and said out loud,

        “How fucking old is the Saladman?”

  8. Luther Von Baconson

    July 5, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    you might want to get a Country Squire and some flip flops. i would suggest a softer chair for your bum. the pipe is a little too much.

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