Archive for June, 2014

Things James Joyce Was Afraid Of

June 11, 2014

The Ocean






The number 13

Opening umbrellas inside

Placing a man’s hat on a bed

Two nuns walking together down the street


Things NOT to Buy Me

June 11, 2014

A $700 china Buddha statue.

'Sugly too.

‘Sugly too.

Something Fishy Indeed

June 9, 2014

Without going into too much back story:

Back during the Peggy Claude-Pierre/Montreux golden age, PCP went on Oprah, after the 20/20 doc, and brought along with her some of her most unusual patients, including a three-year-old boy.  In her book, The Secret Language of Eating Disorders, she describes the three-year-old “Zev” like so:

“Three-year-old Zev always refers to the Negative Mind as ‘the man under his hair.’  That was his usual answer to his mother and me when we asked him why he would not eat.  ‘The man won’t let me.  He will be angry,’ he would explain.

‘Darling, you are safe now,’ I would assure him.  ‘The man under your hair can’t hurt you anymore.  I’m holding you very tightly.’

‘Yes, Peggy, you are holding me, but he is still hurting me.’

‘How can he hurt you, darling?  See, you are in my arms.’

‘Peggy, he is angry that you are holding me, so he is playing drums loudly in my head so I can’t hear the nice things you are saying to me.’

When anorexia is in its acute stage, the Negative Mind allows the victim no pleasure.  When I first met Zev, he was forbidden by it from accepting or opening presents.  Everyone else deserved them, but not him.  He would put his hands behind his back if anyone would extend something in his direction.  His eyes became very dark, intense, and fearful.

If he agreed to eat anything, it could not be called ‘food,’ and it could not make him grow because he was not permitted to grow.  Growing would mean an extension of life.

Once when asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, this three-year-old answered very quietly and thoughtfully, ‘I am not going to grow up.  I am going to be dead before these pants are too short.’  Incredulous, we assured him he would grow when he was supposed to.  He started to cry and said, ‘No, I’m not.  The man told me I wouldn’t be allowed to, and I”m scared of the man.  He is always mean to me.’

This child never played with other children.  He always stood aside and observed.  His development, however, was extraordinary.  He would memorize pages of the telephone book for amusement.  He loved sports and could act out an entire baseball game, playing each position in turn as the ball went around the ‘field.’  He had spent a year and a half undergoing medical testing (before we had been contacted) which failed to turn up any organic reason to explain his refusal to eat.”

So Zev went on Oprah and spoke in his tiny toddler voice, but the clip of that episode (the 2nd one Oprah did devoted to PCP, which aired on January 17, 1996) is entirely absent from the Internet.  My theory: the don told the soldiers to get rid of it post-scandal.  In Barbara McClintock’s book about the case against Montreux, Anorexia’s Fallen Angel, there was (I believe––book not on hand at the moment) discussion of Zev’s perhaps having anorexia (as distinct from anorexia nervosa) and/or an attachment disorder and/or a disorder on the autistic spectrum.  (Autistic children are also notoriously picky eaters.)  In any case, take it from me (and the other medical doctors who examined him along the way): very little reason to believe Zev had clinical anorexia nervosa.

From the court ruling, which you can read online, one learns that Zev’s real name is David Bruce, which I think I remember from the show.  The fact that the clinic took in Bruce, but was only licensed to treat adults except when given explicit permission, was one of the major reasons the Health Authority ordered it closed.  David was born on October 8, 1992 in New York City. This would make him 21, almost 22 now.  His mother’s name is Meg.  Both pretty common names, which I’ve had no luck Googling.  David, or Meg, if you’re out there, please find me.  I’m begging you.  I need to know.

Can You Read This?

June 8, 2014

An old project.

Siobhan will tell you if you email.

Siobhan will tell you if you email.

An Idea

June 8, 2014

Has anyone done this yet?  I’m willing to bet yes, but if not, who wants a co-authorship?

“Joyce moved out of the house in March 1904 and rented a room close to the Dublin docks.  He declined the university’s offer to teach French (he suspected it was the priests’ way of controlling him) and cast about for other options.  He wanted to start a newspaper called The Goblin with one of his friends––all they needed was 2,000 pounds.  Joyce and Gogarty talked excitedly about compiling an anthology of poetry and witticisms gathered from public toilets.  Joyce thought of turning himself into a joint-stock company and selling shares.  He imagined that the prices woudl go up for his lucky investors as soon as his publications began to change Western civilization, and his lucky 1904 investors could get him at a bargain.”

~The Most Dangerous Book: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses by Kevin Birmingham

End of Days

June 6, 2014

Book of Revelations:

When when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.

And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.

And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on earth.

And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither.  And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.

And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted and gave glory to the God of heaven.

The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.


Anne Sexton:

“The Risk

When a daughter tries suicide

and the chimney falls down like a drunk

and the dog chews her tail off

and the kitchen blows up its shiny kettle

and the vacuum cleaner swallows its bag

and the toilet washes itself in tears

and the bathroom scales weigh in the ghost

of the grandmother and the windows,

those sky pieces, ride out like boats

and the grass rolls down the driveway

and the mother lies down on her marriage bed

and eats up her heart like two eggs.


June 5, 2014

Email from ID to AL: my friend and I are going to explore an abandoned psych ward this weekend, and last night I had a VERY elaborate dream that I went and that you came with me.  We got kicked out of the children’s ward when they realized we weren’t actually visiting patients.  It was awesome.

Response from AL to ID: ummm that would have been my JAM in high school. my friend charlie was a security guard at mclean and we used to drive around the abandoned buildings at night when he was on duty and scare the shit out of ourselves. so fun.


AL: great question. that’s probably the first thing i should have told you about myself.

How You Can Figure Out If You Have Serious Problems Without a Psychiatric Evaluation

June 4, 2014

When you find the Wikipedia page for “yubitsume” and start hysterically laughing.

Homesick, Part II*

June 4, 2014

*Number may be incorrect

I recently pubbed a little piece about my time at Shakespeare & Co., and the e-mag used this picture (I don’t know where it came from) to illustrate it.  It made me homesick all over again!

"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."

“I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books.”

Kinder Trauma

June 3, 2014

I contributed to my most favorite website EVER!  (And yes, if you follow the link, you will see my real name.)

Traumafession:: Itinerant D. on Murder of Innocence (1993)

Here’s what I wrote:


I am obsessed with this site.  As a child, I was a bona fide televisual masochist, and remain so to this day.  I could submit any number of things, from the fear that lingered after one look at the cover of the Dolls VHS to my fervent child hood belief that Chuckie lived under my bed with Talking Tina from The Twilight Zone.  But instead, I’ll focus on one viewing experience that left haunted me through my childhood until well into my twenties: viewing a Lifetime movie starring Valerie Bertinelli titled Murder of Innocence.  You’re probably thinking, “Lifetime?!”  But this is one fucked up tale.  Valerie Bertinelli is a perky young waitress who catches the eye of a handsome young man.  They marry before he realizes that she is batshit crazy.  Sure, he knew she was a little nervous and indecisive, but when he returns home one day to find the refrigerator full of make-up and the walls covered in lipstick drawings, he realizes some serious shit is about to go down.  They get divorced and she goes completely off the wall––making hang-up phone calls to her ex-sister-in-law, crushing dead flowers with gloved hands, stealing cuts of raw meat from the grocery store.  The thing that freaked me out the most––I was already a very astute student of psychology as a child––was that her symptoms made no sense.  She obsessively washed her hands, but then hoarded and fondled raw meat; she loves kids but feeds them drugged rice krispie treats.  Of course, it all ends terribly: she buys a gun and shoots a couple of kids in a classroom, retreats to a nearby house and then kills herself.  It haunted me for years, until eventually I found it on HuluPlus.  And then it haunted me all over again.  YOU’RE WELCOME.
I just realized now that the site’s administrator wrote a glowing comment underneath in which he says he has now become obsessed.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.