“Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Alcohol”: I’m at Aleteia

with five things:The first time I got drunk, I was embarrassing. I was 17 and sloppy, grabbing other people’s beers to finish the dregs, kissing randoms. I rode the subway home in the morning feeling incredible—feeling new. My ridiculous and pathetic behavior was transformed into a kind of success. Now that was a party.A decade and a half later I started to read about other people who’d had the same feeling: like falling in love, but also like being loved, like being good, like flying. Ot … [Read more...]

From “Modern Manners”

A brief predivorce period is favored because it's best for final separation to take place before the romance is gone from a marriage. Otherwise the couple are likely to have no regrets. (Having no regrets is a common, even popular, modern condition. It is nevertheless to be avoided. Having no regrets is what robs modern alcoholism of its poignancy. It has also ruined modern verse.) … [Read more...]

Don’t Medicalize My Eschaton (or, What If Addiction Isn’t a Thing?)

Three blind men are feeling around with their hands, trying to determine what's in front of them."I feel something long and ropy, with a bristly end," one says."I feel something thick and wrinkly, muscular and prehensile," one says."I feel something curved and hard and smooth, like a shofar," one says."I've got it!" the first one exclaims. "It's an elephant!"And they spend the next five days trying to feed hay to a table with a rope, a shedding python, and a shofar on it. … [Read more...]

“Amends” reviewed by Rachel Manija Brown

author of All the Fishes Come Home to Roost: ...The prose and dialogue of Amends is a real pleasure, biting and clever and snappy, quotable and re-readable. At times it’s almost too polished. One of the points of Amends is how modern American society is constructed to allow us an endless amount of shallow quick fixes we can use to stave off whatever raw and terrifying emotions or reality we’re hiding from. Reach out, and there’s always something there to grab, whether it’s drugs and booze, TV an … [Read more...]

“Famous Monsters of Filmland”: I review Tim Powers’s new novel

for AmCon: The novels of dark fantasist Tim Powers often flow out of weird, grim moments in real history: the strange encounter of a fox and an English spy; the long lit matches burning in a bloodthirsty pirate’s beard. Powers’s latest book, Medusa’s Web, got its start when Powers encountered one of these disturbing little bits of trivia: Rudolph Valentino received Last Rites twice. Why? To answer that question, Powers spins a tale of family secrets and Hollywood ghosts–and an otherworldly, addi … [Read more...]

Double Review: My Reality-TV Rehab Novel, Gil Fagiani’s Rehab Survivor Poetry

reviewed by Jendi Reiter: ...Logos is a collection of persona poems set at a heroin treatment center of that name, in the South Bronx in the 1960s. It comes out of Fagiani’s own experience, first as an inpatient there, and later as a social worker at a Bronx psychiatric hospital and the director of a rehab center in Brooklyn. The desperation of addiction has a way of levelling distinctions between races, classes, and professional backgrounds. The first-person narrator of some of these poems, p … [Read more...]

“A Paleocon, An Otherkin, And a Saint Walk into a Bar”: Kate Havard

reviews my novel--and gets off some great lines of her own in the process: Eve Tushnet’s wonderful debut novel Amends takes place during the first and only season of a doomed reality television show about alcoholism. The show—also called Amends—follows a group of miserable weirdos through a one-month spell in rehab.The book is also a brutal satire of both the conservative cultural journalism crowd and the “Everything is a Problem” social justice crowd. What sticks with you, though, are the s … [Read more...]