Four nights with the strippers of Reno.

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Jesse Luthi. Instagram: medicinecabinetdreams

Exhaustion is a key word here. Something you probably didn’t know: your average stripper works (as a stripper) about seven times a month. If you find that confusing, monetarily, why not work more to make more money? Exhaustion has everything to do with it. Exhaustion is more than being tired, there’s an amygdalatic component, emotional.

Four nights is a lot of nights in a row to go to strip clubs. I’ll apologize in advance, it all gets a little bit jumbled. But I think I wanted to feel it. The monotony, the paradigms and similarities. The actual work of sex work. …


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Three Bees who buzz around my brain. Beckett, Barthelme, Bukowski

I like to think that literary fiction and physics share at least one common characteristic. That what Richard Feynman said about quantum mechanics; “If you think you understand quantum mechanics, you don’t.” That this also applies to literary fiction. Which, at its best, is the study of life and human dynamics and the eternal necessity of narrative in the structure of our consciousness. Or, how narrative turns to describe inter-spatial randomness by giving events meaning. Giving the characters in books specific functions, as greek letters, in the complex equations that are our lives. …


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A still from a sketch on World Peace

“The crucial distinction between systems is no longer ideological. The main political differences are between those who do — and those who do not think the citizen is the property of the state.”

  • Christopher Hitchens Letters to a Young Contrarian

I often don’t have trouble with opening sentences, but something here is eluding me. For one, I probably should’ve picked a different title, though I’m going to leave it as is. I should’ve because there’s really no part of me that believes defining World Peace — a sketch comedy show by three white men which aired early in the morning on Adult Swim for six episodes — “Alt Right” helps anyone understand anything. I have trouble defining what “Alt Right” means. I used that Hitchens quote above because that’s about as close as I can seem to get to understanding. Woke people want everyone to think the way they do, to get on the team. In no small part — they seem to believe that everybody belongs to them (or at least anybody who matters). …


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I don’t drive that much, so what I listen to when I do is pretty simple. Three FM stations. Two are classic rock, the third is NPR. A station which about half the time I flip to its frequency, I have to very quickly flip away. Yet out of all the boring blather I’ve balked at, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything quite as obnoxious as a Robin DiAngelo lecture on racism.

First of all, this lecturer who gets paid 10,000 dollars a pop to do corporate seminars, didn’t sound very smart. From what I could stand to listen to; she began by comparing racism to a dock. It has support structures underneath that you can’t see and that is racism. Well, you know Robin there are such things as free floating docks, but ignoring that; it’s still a pointless analogy. Many docks you can see their support structure, and, even if you couldn’t, one is still aware that they’re not just magically gliding over water. …


A Modern Evaluation of Robert Pirsig’s LILA

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I often encourage people to start reading books in their middles. I do not read for plot and I have belief that every page of a good book should have its own kind of power. Such is the case with Robert Pirsig’s novel Lila. Like Pirsig’s surprise bestseller of 1974, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Zen for short), Lila follows a similar structure. Man on a journey ponders the universe. With Zen it’s a motorcycle trip across the Midwest. In Lila it’s a sailing trip down the eastern shore. In both books this loose knit structure offers a stage for much personal thought, often making both books seem like philosophical works rather than novels. Lila has even less plot-structure than Zen does. …


writing as art

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From my friend Tom Strah’s home studio. Another famous suicide.

There’s a lot of reasons to kill yourself. Not least of which is that if one perceived life as a series of projects, tasks to be completed, the penultimate project would be coming to terms with one’s death. Not simply mortality, but the precise moment of the end. I know I can’t help but think about it often.

Though final projects have a simple seduction, the question remains to ask oneself — how did I come to the notion that life was a series of projects in the first place? As a young man I absorbed a certain amount of sadness for the world that David also spoke of experiencing. A sadness of place and time, not one of loss or heartbreak. Mainly out of a (pretty messed up) notion that I was supposed to be sad. …


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Florence Nightingale. “How little can be done under the spirit of fear.”

My friend owns a used bookstore, it’s a nice place to stop in. There’s a rotating cast of characters who pass thru. Among them a male nurse/poet who I’ve never seen in scrubs. His hair is curly, short, and always tidy with product. He always wears dress shoes. He is handsome but god knows if he’s ever used it. He might be a homosexual (an acquaintance, while we were both young, once chastised me for contemplating the sexual orientation of a young woman. Asking me, rhetorically: just what did it matter? As if one’s interest in such a thing could only come from bigotry. The end of curiosity will be the death of sex … this is perhaps one of the problems faced in marriage). Anyway, the conversation with this nurse turned to healthcare. He informed that the famous nurse Florence Nightingale, unfortunately, was a big spreader of venereal disease. He kept stressing the point about how unfortunate it was even while acknowledging that; “Well, what’s the one thing you know you can do to make people feel good.” I still don’t know anything about Ms. Nightingale, except that this anecdote made me like her so much more … and I was confused by this poet’s aversion to her logic. Of course the best nurse fell in love with each of her patients, that’s what made her a great nurse. It also made me question his credentials as a poet. …


To self-publish or not to self-publish? What’s the question?

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Number 1: Do Not Assume that Anyone is going to Give A Shit.

I mean this in all possible interpretations. This is why it is Numero Uno. Taking away or losing the assumption of anyone giving a shit, for today’s writer, is top priority. At first, once you begin to accept that nobody gives a shit, you will find yourself questioning just what the hell you were even doing it for. This is good, this is a good question. At the very least you have to come to terms with the fact that no one is going to give a shit and you still have to be ok with that. Still want to continue with the self-publishing? Because, honestly, you can try and play a waiting game with the cultural gatekeepers. Start a side-hustle on YouTube. Get into a writing program that also runs an imprint. Like everything in life, who you know is going to matter. But you already know this. You, like I, are tired of waiting. …


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Jesse Luthi

I realize now my heavy use of alcohol has been an attraction to little deaths. Sleep. Endpoints, beginnings (unconsciousness, hangovers). A rhythm to my daily existence. A useful avoidance of my anxieties, insomnia, no obvious direction for how my life should be run. A good hard sleep, mandated by booze, put punctuation in my narrative where I couldn’t seem to find it otherwise. It’s interesting for me to think about it now, sober for a week for the first time in a decade, it seems most people have a greater sense of continuity than I do. Their days bleed together in a natural way. …


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I used to stalk around parties, bars, looking for fun. My face a mask of distraction, concentration. A hint of blood lust. When I’d finally manage to grab fun by the tail it’d yelp, look at me with its big sad eyes. So I would let it go, count to twenty, then begin following its tracks all over again. I wondered why other people at parties weren’t so concerned with tracking down this beautiful little beast. I mean, come on? How could you ignore it? I was obsessed, like a hunter in one of those old stories, obsessed with the game that continues to elude them. Except, I never really had trouble catching it, fun. It never ran off into the woods where I’d have to track it for days, weeks. Sometimes it would just hang out in the corner of the same room I was in. I felt like sometimes it was taunting me. I would often become moody if I knew I was supposed to go to a party. I knew fun would be there, it always was. And while others seemed to ignore it or indulge it with a pat as it brushed past their legs, I couldn’t help but focus my whole attention on the little bastard. …

About

Jonah Andrist

Relates with supervillains. Writes literary fiction. Likes audiobooks. His novella audiobook The Town of Books is available wherever you get yours.

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