ere’s the truth: XXXX X XXX XXXXXX XX XXXX XXXXX, X XXXX XXXX XXXXXXXX XXXXXX XXXX XX XXX XXXXX XXXXXXXXX XX XXXX. XXXXXXX XXXX XXXXX, XXX XX XXXX XXXX XXX XXXXX XXXX.XXXXX XXXX XXXXXXX XXXX XX XX XXXX XXXXXX XX XXX XX XX XX XXXX, XXX XXXXXX XXX XXXX XXXX XX XXX. I’m almost 34, my birthday’s just a few days away—and that’s got nothing to do with why today’s not the day, it’s just a fact of the calendar, that’s all—and though I’m not old, and certainly not wise, XXX XXXXXXX X XXXXXX XXXXXXX XX XX XXXXXXXXX XXX XXXXXXXXXX, XX XXXX X XXX XXXXXXXXX XX XXXX XXXX XXXX XX XXX XXXXX XXXX XXX XXXXX XXXX XX. X XXXX XXXXX X XXXX XXXX XXXXXXX XX XXXX XX XX XXX.
The binding on this issue: It occurred to me that I’ve been doing a modification of a 4-hole Japanese binding for single sheets, but I’ve been using it to bind folded signatures.
 Truncated, due to space limitations. Normally, I’d just cut somebody’s piece if I wanted a few more pages, or a few pieces if I wanted 20… but this time it’s someone else’s issue, and there’s nobody for me to cut. But the truncation’s probably not due only to that. Yeah, there’s a whole lot more pages in this issue than normal, so that’s gonna cost me extra, money we at spork don’t have, but that’s none of your concern, honeylove.
Sweetiekins, I’ve been running out of bookstores lately, nauseated, broken, horrified, like if I went to the leper colony and discovered a herd of fetishists masturbating onto the walls of every hut.
See, love, what are books? These days, I mean? And what are bookstores? You see where I’m going with this? Honeybun, we suck, you and me and all the rest, and we’ve gotten what we asked for, and we’re gonna get what we deserve.
We’ve lost two independent bookstores in Tucson in the past few months, and they were the kind of store that yesterday I really really needed. A small, comprehensible, comfortable place with a limited range a guy can easily wrap his head around, a staff I trusted, a staff who knew my predilections and habits—and who love and push my publications, oh yeah, oh yeah—and to whom I could say “I want to read Céline, but like if he was a fry cook instead of a doctor and soldier…” and they’d know instantly where to send me. Bookstore people I wanted to just drop in and say hello to. And then ask them for some Bukowski but without all the puking… or something Palahniuk but less repetitive, less contrived (since sometimes you want it easy, you know, but you don’t want to have to bend that low—and Chuckie, it hurts me to say it, it really does, I loved you so… and here’s what I think you’re doing wrong. You’re interacting too much with them, your people. They’re dragging you down and making you stupid and chaining you up with their expectations—but what are you doing, Charlie P? You’re teaching them! You really gotta stop that. Oh my god do you ever have to stop that. If you could just sit here where I sit, reading the submissions some of your people have sent… and then see how angry they get when their resemblance to you, their pale, drooling sycophantic resemblance, is mentioned… I don’t know that it’d make you see, necessarily, but maybe you would… maybe you’d see that it’s not really helping, that it is in fact hurting. Let’s all be writers! How hard can it be, really? How hard can it be? Honestly, people. There are objective realities at work, it’s not all just what we like, or what we can relate to, some things are good whether we like them or not, some things bad. Tom Waits = Good; Justin Timberlake = Bad. No one can argue that, no matter what a person may feel on the subject. And with you, it’s like someone kicked you, put their finger in your face, their eyes not even seeing you, their eyes making your face a mirror to them and all they can see is their own wants; and they hold up Lullaby in one hand—you made me so happy with that one, Chas, it was you, but a you looking up, looking out, a growing, branching you, and I could forgive the tricks and the cheap little hooks—and the other hand fisted but the index finger stuck out so stiff it’s crooked and snapping from the tension in the tendons, and they’re spitting at you with every word, “Bad author! Bad, bad author!” Then they rub your nose in your book, and even though you know it’s good, really really good, this whole scene screws with your perception…), well, hopefully you’ve been places other than B&N or Borders, and you know what I’m talking about.
But I walk into bookstores now and I come out never wanting to see another book again. I can’t buy books. I can’t read book reviews, I can’t… I can’t.
That whole section at Borders or B&N, all the overstock. That’s the problem. Bulk. Scattershot overwhelming process, this small words and large-type, no ideas, buy all you want, we’ll make more, disposable entertainments, little more than magazines in book shapes but without the pictures of hot women in pretty underthings, and leaving me dirtier and worse for wear than had I spent an equivalent amount of time and attention on some good old fashioned honest porn. I leave a bookstore and I don’t ever want to write again. Don’t want to read anymore, don’t want to publish, don’t want to make the books…
If I were prone to seeing conspiracies, I’d say that Oprah and the NYT Book Review were actually agents of the government, slow brainwashing and intellectual eradication their purpose, working toward a manageable groupthink ideal, taking the long view, figuring in just a couple more generations we’ll have it all sorted…
 This redaction is necessary. It’s not secrets or anything. “It's not enough to just say this is all about freedom of expression. We respect freedom of expression but we know there are certain boundaries and limits.”
 Trillian, my daughter, she starts 1st grade in the fall. The school she’s at goes only through kindergarten, so we’re looking all over at what’s available, where she should go next year. There’s two schools we really really like, but they’re both way out of our price range. The one she’s at now is out of our price range too, but not so much as these others. One of them costs more than the state university out here. We can probably get a whole lot of financial aid but even with the maximum we could get, plus secret magic from no fewer than three fairy princesses kindly disposed to us and sympathetic to our cause, it would still be about twice what we can, at the extremes of most dire privations, realistically afford. We’re told to go for it anyway, told that there might be a couple bonus fairy princesses with magic to spare, but as I haven’t actually talked to any of these magical creatures, I don’t know how much faith to put in the possibility. The other school is about equal what it costs to go to the university, and with the maximum of financial aid, and the institution of the mentioned privations, we could probably just about make it. Maybe, if I sell my ass and mouth, and if my customers pay my asking price, and competition doesn’t force me to do the work for a nickel a shot (likely in today’s economic climate)…