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Reader author goes into rehab, what they read in front of the Hotel Del, Dad looked like Robert Taylor

Mom's death, son's over-eating, notes from editor Judith Moore

Courtney Love and Kiefer Sutherland in Beat. If Courtney Love was cast as resembling Burroughs's real life spouse, it would go a long way in explaining why Burroughs shot her in the head.
Courtney Love and Kiefer Sutherland in Beat. If Courtney Love was cast as resembling Burroughs's real life spouse, it would go a long way in explaining why Burroughs shot her in the head.

“What happened to your shorts?”

Let me tell you about my leave of absence. Like you're dying to know. One letter poured in. It was hard to tell exactly what the writer was trying to express as it was written in crayon or possibly lipstick, but he seemed to miss the column — at least I think that's what the message was. The obscenities indicated his anger at my leave-taking. Jetting to Aruba is tiresome, uncomfortable, and annoying. Especially if you're sitting next to a shower curtain salesman for motel chains who wants to tell you every fascinating aspect of the job. Airline peanut bags are still as hard to open as ever, and airport security — well, you probably know.

By John Brizzolara, Aug. 10, 2006 | Read full article

Us Magazine, DaVinci Code, Cat & Mouse, The Handmaid's Tale, A Gift from Earth

Thoughts of death and dentists banished, I began to focus on my nascent sunburn

I found a very pale woman with thick eyeglasses and a mouth like a lamprey's reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which I had read and enjoyed. I asked her what she thought. "It's very good," she said, and I agreed. I then asked her to refresh my memory on certain plot points. She was good at it, and I figured she was a schoolteacher from the Midwest, but she was actually an accountant for Target and lived off Midway Avenue.

By John Brizzolara, Aug. 17, 2006 | Read full article

Poor Dad

In the mail yesterday was a package containing photos, war records, articles for the military press, etc., about and by my father, Robert John Brizzolara, a corporal in 1944–’45 in the Philippines during WWII. The first thing I removed was a cardboard-framed wedding photo of my parents, Dad looking something like the old film star Robert Taylor, my mother like a corn-fed, Midwestern Elizabeth Taylor (coincidence unintended, but who knows?). I placed it on top of my closet unit. The dead again, overseeing everything.

By John Brizzolara, Nov. 12, 2008 | Read full article

I took a picture of a butterfly, some guy in what looked like a kind of opera costume, a Spanish cavalier maybe, and a guy in a gorilla suit who refused to say anything.

With the End of Humans, What Will Happen to the Gorilla?

Actually it was three months ago, my mother’s death, I mean. I just found out about it on Friday. No one in my family would tell me. They thought, I suppose, I would be so sad I would drink myself to death. I had thought about it for years and wondered how I would feel. Whatever it was, it wasn’t much. I stayed in that night though. I thought that was, at least, something. Like Camus’s Monsieur Meursault, I guess I thought it didn’t have anything to do with me.

By John Brizzolara, June 23, 2005 | Read full article

When Lars arrived, I wanted to kiss him

It is alarming and sad to come home to find empty food packets strewn around the kitchen and my son's weight no doubt up another few pounds. I can hardly get angry; he does try to curb this side-effect craving, and he always says he'll be fine, that he does not worry or get anxious when I am gone, but I suspect this is an aspect of Schiz-Affect Disorder, which pretty much makes him blind to any emotion including worry, fearfulness. I have not seen him cry, for example, since he was ten years old.

This past Thursday night he woke me from a dead sleep about 11:30 p.m. and asked me, "Have you prayed about your headache?"

By John Brizzolara, March 9, 2006 | Read full article

A visiting college recruiter for the London School of Drama sent a note addressed to me calling "All Night Donuts," "a Tour-de-Force of Nothing."

“Write everything as if it were the last thing you’ll ever get a chance to write.”

Memorial Day weekend is over as I write here and so this will not exactly be timely, but Judith Moore, a friend and long-time editor of this paper, died very recently. I see she is remembered in lead Arts features in The New York Times and the L.A. Times, and I can only guess at how many literary journals and small-press periodicals. Judith always urged me to think in terms of "timelessness," even while executing what could easily be treated as Kleenex journalism — what is, after all, ephemera.

By John Brizzolara, June 8, 2006 | Read full article

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Courtney Love and Kiefer Sutherland in Beat. If Courtney Love was cast as resembling Burroughs's real life spouse, it would go a long way in explaining why Burroughs shot her in the head.
Courtney Love and Kiefer Sutherland in Beat. If Courtney Love was cast as resembling Burroughs's real life spouse, it would go a long way in explaining why Burroughs shot her in the head.

“What happened to your shorts?”

Let me tell you about my leave of absence. Like you're dying to know. One letter poured in. It was hard to tell exactly what the writer was trying to express as it was written in crayon or possibly lipstick, but he seemed to miss the column — at least I think that's what the message was. The obscenities indicated his anger at my leave-taking. Jetting to Aruba is tiresome, uncomfortable, and annoying. Especially if you're sitting next to a shower curtain salesman for motel chains who wants to tell you every fascinating aspect of the job. Airline peanut bags are still as hard to open as ever, and airport security — well, you probably know.

By John Brizzolara, Aug. 10, 2006 | Read full article

Us Magazine, DaVinci Code, Cat & Mouse, The Handmaid's Tale, A Gift from Earth

Thoughts of death and dentists banished, I began to focus on my nascent sunburn

I found a very pale woman with thick eyeglasses and a mouth like a lamprey's reading Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, which I had read and enjoyed. I asked her what she thought. "It's very good," she said, and I agreed. I then asked her to refresh my memory on certain plot points. She was good at it, and I figured she was a schoolteacher from the Midwest, but she was actually an accountant for Target and lived off Midway Avenue.

By John Brizzolara, Aug. 17, 2006 | Read full article

Poor Dad

In the mail yesterday was a package containing photos, war records, articles for the military press, etc., about and by my father, Robert John Brizzolara, a corporal in 1944–’45 in the Philippines during WWII. The first thing I removed was a cardboard-framed wedding photo of my parents, Dad looking something like the old film star Robert Taylor, my mother like a corn-fed, Midwestern Elizabeth Taylor (coincidence unintended, but who knows?). I placed it on top of my closet unit. The dead again, overseeing everything.

By John Brizzolara, Nov. 12, 2008 | Read full article

I took a picture of a butterfly, some guy in what looked like a kind of opera costume, a Spanish cavalier maybe, and a guy in a gorilla suit who refused to say anything.

With the End of Humans, What Will Happen to the Gorilla?

Actually it was three months ago, my mother’s death, I mean. I just found out about it on Friday. No one in my family would tell me. They thought, I suppose, I would be so sad I would drink myself to death. I had thought about it for years and wondered how I would feel. Whatever it was, it wasn’t much. I stayed in that night though. I thought that was, at least, something. Like Camus’s Monsieur Meursault, I guess I thought it didn’t have anything to do with me.

By John Brizzolara, June 23, 2005 | Read full article

When Lars arrived, I wanted to kiss him

It is alarming and sad to come home to find empty food packets strewn around the kitchen and my son's weight no doubt up another few pounds. I can hardly get angry; he does try to curb this side-effect craving, and he always says he'll be fine, that he does not worry or get anxious when I am gone, but I suspect this is an aspect of Schiz-Affect Disorder, which pretty much makes him blind to any emotion including worry, fearfulness. I have not seen him cry, for example, since he was ten years old.

This past Thursday night he woke me from a dead sleep about 11:30 p.m. and asked me, "Have you prayed about your headache?"

By John Brizzolara, March 9, 2006 | Read full article

A visiting college recruiter for the London School of Drama sent a note addressed to me calling "All Night Donuts," "a Tour-de-Force of Nothing."

“Write everything as if it were the last thing you’ll ever get a chance to write.”

Memorial Day weekend is over as I write here and so this will not exactly be timely, but Judith Moore, a friend and long-time editor of this paper, died very recently. I see she is remembered in lead Arts features in The New York Times and the L.A. Times, and I can only guess at how many literary journals and small-press periodicals. Judith always urged me to think in terms of "timelessness," even while executing what could easily be treated as Kleenex journalism — what is, after all, ephemera.

By John Brizzolara, June 8, 2006 | Read full article

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