Thursday, February 11, 2016


C H R I S    O F F U T T    A M O N G S T    T H E    S T U F F

My wife called me on the phone from town on this cold winter day and asked me what I was doing.

I said, I'm reading about the pornographer.

She laughed knowing the book I was reading.

I then said, when I'm not reading about the pornographer, I'm shoveling the big driveway. Then I read more about the pornographer. I go out with all the wood ashes and get them on the long pathways I've shoveled and all the ice that is again showing. I shouldn't have removed the snow. I want things neat. I'm starting to sound like the pornographer.

I had some furniture delivered. This is the only second time in six decades where I have received furniture being delivered. It never happens. I build all our furniture, but this time we saw something we liked. We did it up middle class all the way. The two delivery boys came along, on my guide of wood ash over ice, and in we were together unwrapping the furniture. Then they left, but not before we talked a bit about the Super Bowl. Me in the open doorway, the guys stalled. One won a betting pool of $250. The other chimed in he nabbed $75. I have no idea what they are talking about. They also told me the showroom where we just bought our new piece was down to a crawl for business. The owners have to talk to these guys. They're supposed to say, so I feel great when I sit on our new piece, "Business is booming." "Can't keep up!"

They leave. I read more about the pornographer. You know a serious study of the pornographer and his craft really doesn't take off in the book until 2/3rds of the way through; like old style pornography, you have to wait. Pages and pages of drivel. No drivel here. The book is really about the author, son of the pornographer, oldest son, and his mother, and his siblings, and the pornographer. Like all pornographers, he's notorious.  This son writing the memoir is also good enough to be notorious.

This author has written more than one memoir but this one may be his best. I read them all as the books appeared, and his novel. Remainder stamps on most of his books.

In his other books he was circling all around himself.

In this book he circles his father, the pornographer, and this gets him closer and closer to himself.

I read some more of the new book. It has a dust jacket illustration mimicking another book about a pornographer once published by Grove Press. I read that book too in the day. I went and split a night load of stove wood. Carried it in, piled it neat by the stove, waited for my wife to return from town so we could continue the fun we were having on one of our rare phone calls, since we are rarely apart, now at home.

I plan to finish the book on the pornographer tonight during the Democratic debate. Stump speeches don't compare. Even when it's Bernie.

A T R I A     B O O K S   2016

 photo of chris offutt
william mebane for the new york times


"From my side of the story"
August 24, 1969


"Elvis Presley will never be solved"
Nick Tosches 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


The Art of the Deal



MY NEW LETTER: "Sidelined by a visit to the ICU, I could use your help" - Please read & Share!

Thank you to all who have written to me about my stay this past week in the intensive care unit. Unfortunately, as you may have heard, I came down with pneumonia. Truth be told, it was pretty serious, and other complications arose. But then, five days later, I was still alive — thanks to a combination of Directors Guild insurance, two I-V drips of alleged legal drugs, and a hospital TV that only got FOX News. I was released on my own recognizance, which I tried to explain may not be the best idea. I am now at home resting and binging on the Real Housewives of The Walking Dead. All my appearances this week and last week supporting the release of my brand new movie, “Where To Invade Next” (Conan, Bill Maher, Charlie Rose, NPR, etc.), plus a special primary eve screening tonight in New Hampshire, were and are cancelled.

Needless to say, I’m pretty devastated. This film means a lot to me. To be sidelined – I can’t fly, I can’t travel, I can’t leave the house – in this, the most important week before it comes out… well, you can imagine what I’m going through. Trying to get back to just breathing is enough of a burden. To think that my film may now not reach the audience I made it for, let’s just say that doesn’t help the healing process.

Many of you have asked if there’s anything you can do to help me. I have thought about it – and, yes, actually, there is something you could do to help me.

I need you to be part of a quickly cobbled-together “army” of grassroots “ambassadors” who can do the work I was going to do this week to let people know abut the movie and convince as many as possible to go see it. I realize you haven’t seen “Where To Invade Next”, so I’m asking you to do this based upon my past work and your hope that I’ve made a compelling film that might affect change in this country, that will inspire people to think about things in a different way. I believe that’s exactly what I’ve done, and many who’ve seen it agree (LINK). I also believe this movie can have a huge impact on the elections this year. It’s won a bunch of film festival prizes, it’s made the Oscars shortlist, and some have called it my best film ever. Possibly, just possibly.

But forget all that. Here’s what I will tell you: You are going to be seriously f***ed up by this film. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done. It will truly make your head spin for two hours while you “laugh AND cry — in the same exact moment,” as an audience member said to the cameras on the way out of the movie’s premiere.

Last week, laying in the hospital, I watched one Presidential candidate attack the candidate from Vermont for his ideas being “unrealistic,” “pie in the sky,” and “ideas that sound good on paper, but aren’t going to happen.” The truth is, all these great “ideas” – free universal health care, free university, free day care, taxing and policing hedge fund millionaires – have already happened in nearly every other industrialized country in the world! And I have the evidence – and the film — to prove it! Throughout “Where To Invade Next”, I invade a whole bunch of nefarious countries, from Slovenia to Germany to France to Norway, and pry loose from them the tools they’ve been using to make their countries happy, shiny places. My goal: to show millions of Americans what these countries have been hiding from us so we can catch up and be #1 again! Remember “WE’RE #1!!”? Don’t you miss being #1 and waving those big foam #1 fingers at patriotic rallies? In my invasions, I don’t use any weapons, and no one gets droned. I show how to actually make all universities free (and great); how to give all workers five to eight weeks PAID vacation (which increases productivity and betters the economy); how simple and easy it is to give mothers (or fathers) up to a year of PAID maternity leave (which in turn benefits the company overall); how in the societies where woman have achieved true equality and power, everything just seems to get better for everyone; how to reduce the crime rate by ending the war on drugs and having a humane prison system (our recidivism rate is as high as 80%; theirs is 20%); how the economy bounces back faster and is safer when bankers are put in prison; how students in countries without standardized tests and needless homework perform better than our students (and that countries which have more arts and music in their schools do better in math and science)… and on and on and on. By the end of the movie, you’ll want to go live in one of those countries. But instead, I’ll show you how we can make all of that happen right here in the USA, right now.

So, what do you think? Can you be a virtual ambassador for “Where To Invade Next”? I know you can’t go on “Good Morning America” for me, but there are a few easy things you could do right now from your computer or mobile device.

Here’s how you can help “Where To Invade Next:”

First, go see it! Text some friends right now and say, “hey, let’s go see this Friday night!” Commit now to go to a theater that’s playing it this coming weekend. It’s opening in every major and mini-major city in the country. If you live in a place the size of Binghamton, NY, or Grand Rapids, MI, then they’re going to be playing “Where To Invade Next.” The final list of theaters will be out later tomorrow, but here’s a partial one for now

Right now, you can TWEET the following: “.@MMFlint’s 1st film in 6 years is coming out and he needs our help with #WhereToInvadeNext! Read & RT!

Right now, you can FACEBOOK the following: “Michael Moore’s 1st film in 6 years is coming out and he needs our help with #WhereToInvadeNext! Read & Share!

At the bottom of this letter is the hi-res version of the film’s poster! Feel free to send it around, post it on your social media, download it and print up some flyers, or use it graphically any way that you want.

Send the trailer to everyone on your contact list: (
Over the next few days I’ll send you other things you can do, like organizing screening parties for this weekend, sending me photos from your theater that I can post, and sharing with your friends exclusive clips from the film which I’ll send you.

If a few thousand of you suddenly became champions and ambassadors for “Where To Invade Next”, then maybe we can pull this off. I certainly would be forever in your debt. Thanks for being there for me.

All my best,

P.S. – Please forward this letter to everyone! Or share it on Facebook.

Monday, February 8, 2016


C H A M B E R     M U S I C

There might be someone you love, some one you
wanted to be with, and then, found your self
with, there were such things, such lives and
lovers. I am like that sometimes, I think, some
distant romantic wrapped in music. I wanted to know
myself, and found that was a lifetime's work, the
twists and zig zags, dips and turns, all could
disorient you, that you were no longer you but
somebody else masquerading as yourself's desire.
Rain could come. The sky grow light. It could even be
twilight, in a foreign town. Where you walked under
far noises of invisible worlds. But when you remember
all of your faces, blown now gone forever in the wind,
you'll see that you were always wanting to be you,
you were always wanting to know and love yourself, and you
found a few faces, a few names, that extended your life
into other lives, and as time marches, hours, days, decades
dance, you'll find your hand in someone else's hand, you'll
hear yourself thinking about some person other than you
and then look up and yes there will be some other person
some closeness and echoed tenderness, that makes us more than dots
under the far away, that make us more than split seconds of


I' M    N O T    F O O L E D

This is still Slavery

Not fooled at all

This is still Slavery






So what you gonna act like Miles, tellin me "So What?"

Out yr brains closed mouth, and on the open streets

Not only so what but bump me, chump me, chump us all, you say

Actin like Miles but you ain't Miles, you the dressed up slave master ghost

Just as you always was. I ain't fooled. It's still slavery still is still is. I ain't fooled.

Excuse me

The fone ringing.


A L L    S O N G S    A R E    C R A Z Y

Some are beautiful.

Who could sing

All the songs we know?

How many of us that can, know

How many of those who sing know

What singing is.

So I who have sung and have heard song

Want to know the singers

And the song

I who have learned singing from the oldest singers

In the world and have sung some songs myself

Want to create that song that everybody knows

And that everybody will sing one day.

So what is left to do? That is how the song



O N    T H U R S D A Y    I    F O U N D    T H I S
I N    M Y    N O T E B O OK

When love is perfected, when love

           is understood.

        When love is the law

                   & the measure

           The ruler & ruled & body of

                   of what is body mind of

                   what is mind

            When love & the Soul

                    are uncovered

                then you will always

                     sound like

                           Duke Ellington.

A M I R I     B A R A K A

S  O  S
Poems 1961-2013
selected by Paul Vangelisti
Grove 2014 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Friday, February 5, 2016


H A P P Y     B I R T H D A Y     J A N I N E   ! ! !




  K O N S T A N T I N     P A V L O V


I won't be nasty anymore,

nor provocative.

I will choose my means and enemies with care.

Bye-bye Sofia.

I am going back to nature!

In Kurilo, I have a nice little house —

I will mend the old fence,

and live there quietly, invisible.

In the winter, I'll meditate.

In the summer, I'll raise . . .

What will I raise?

Only snakes dart in the weeds.

Well, I'll raise snakes

instead of carrier pigeons.

You can achieve anything with goodness.

They say that snakes become very attached

to their masters.

I'll send them

as a small favor

to my enemies.


Konstantin Pavolov
Capriccio For Goya
Selected poems 1955-1995
Ivy Press 2003