ESSAY

My brief, unhappy career as a caricaturist

All illustrations by the author

Writers don’t generally excel at life. They seldom even excel at writing. But the profession of writing (and writing alone) suits them, whether they’re competent or not. Alas.

The treasure of life, to writers, is having as much time to write well or badly as possible. Writing time is costly, though, and to afford it most writers engage in an activity for which they’re constitutionally unsuited: honest work.

While I still consider myself young, I’ve been younger. And when I was younger (though not much younger), I too engaged in honest work. Outrageously honest. Lots of it.

Good wine helps…


ESSAY

The lion was waking…

Tim Marshall / Unsplash

We crossed the Atlantic by ship, my mother and I. From the Old Country to the New. I was only a boy. The trip took many days, though I remember only one of them. I remember it well…

Even after a week at sea, I still stared at the water, awestruck. A child’s world is a small one, bounded on all sides by rules and limitations. That there could be so much open space in the world… It was incredible to me.

I soon realized, too, that the ocean was more than space. That it was alive.

I looked at…


FICTION

A story for children

Kunst / Giphy

When Twylla West was good (which wasn’t very often), her nanny took her to the Metropolitan Zoo.

And there they were, one day! The two strolled hand-in-hand, wearing red sun hats. All around them, people were pushing and shoving to get a look at the animals. But the only thing the monkeys and tigers and kangaroos did was lay dozing in the shade, not moving a muscle, like a bunch of stuffed animals.

Yes, it was very boring.

So Twylla let go of Nanny Grindle’s hand (which wasn’t allowed) and ran off into the crowd.

“Come back at once!” cried…


POEM

I have been dreaming…

I have ㅤ ㅤbeen dreaming

I have been ㅤ ㅤremembering

I have been dreaming
those dreams ㅤ ㅤof meaning
that come from the waters
of dreaming ㅤ ㅤdeep
like drowned men
to the gold skin
of the ocean

I have been remembering

For there is more ㅤ ㅤof water
in thought ㅤ ㅤand bend
than an arm ㅤ ㅤof the ocean
more ㅤ ㅤin thought ㅤ ㅤof one
than the whole ㅤ ㅤof ocean

She has become the ocean
that edges every
thing
her phantom as the water
of viridian

She has become
the ocean
the folding over
main
the universal water
of…


NEWS

Echo … echo … echo …

Here’s a little news roundup — for anyone who might still be out there…

A have a new short story in Sylvia — a new, paying UK publication. This one’s online only.

I have another short story in En Bloc — another new, paying UK publication. This one’s print only.

UK children’s press Nosy Crow as acquired the rights to my poem “The Moonless Night,” which will be included in their lavish anthology A Funny Poem for Every Day of the Year, to be published in 2023.

I have a cartoon in the new issue of Adbusters, on newsstands now.


MUSIC

But the sun struck my eyes…

Hello, Friends —

I recently visited my talented cousin Nathan, who obliged me by performing two new songs I’d written.

The first song is called “The California Sun.”

The second is “Sunglasses.”

I hope you enjoy the tunes. How’s your summer going?

Cheers —


ESSAY

Then sprinted to the emergency room

Illustration by Rolli

I finished my twenty-somethingth cup of coffee that day, then sprinted to the emergency room.

My brain didn’t connect these events. Not initially. Not for ten years. It should’ve been obvious.

I have been oblivious to the obvious, my entire life.

I want that to be my epitaph.

I’ve been a drinker, a coffee drinker, since I was nine or ten. Two cups a day — initially. That pair had rabbitty morals. Two became six, a dozen. By age twenty, I was drinking as many cups of coffee every day. …


MUSIC

My new EP is out now!

Hello, Friends —

I’m happy to announce the release of CAHOOTS II, a 3-song indie rock EP co-written with Duke Sims, lead singer of the ubiquitous New York City band Shinobi Ninja.

Have a listen to the punk-poppy lead single, “Rock’s On the Brink of Extinction.”

You might like track two, too. “Muddafuggin” has an 80s vibe.

The third and final track, “I Wrecked My Guitar,” blends grunge and jazz.

The EP is dedicated to my friend Mike, who recently and unexpectedly passed away.

CAHOOTS II is available on Spotify, Apple Music and most other streaming services…


ESSAY

It’s all coming back to me…

Hello, Friends —

Medium is unkind to one’s older stories. They vanish down rabbit holes, never to be seen — or read — again.

To help remedy this, I’ll be exhuming some of my favorite dead posts from time to time. This week, I’m digging up a short, darkly humorous essay called “Everyone Was Drunk that Day.”

I put a lot of work into this piece — it includes a number of original drawings — and feel it’s worth another look.

I hope you enjoy “Everyone Was Drunk that Day.” You’ll find the link below.

Note №1

If you enjoyed this story…

Rolli

Writer of books (SEA-WAVE, KABUNGO). Drawer of cartoons (Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest). Drinker of coffee. Buy me a ☕️ https://ko-fi.com/rolliwrites

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