The Essay by Caleb J Ross was reprinted here.


The mote in my eye? Fuck you. See first to the beam in yours.

The mote in my eye? Fuck you. See first to the beam in yours.

I’m lying on the cool red silk sheets that cover my bed. The blanket is kicked into a ragged ball by my feet. I don’t need it. It only makes me sweat. The room is not large, but is nicely furnished. There are no windows, but it is well lit and comfortable. The color scheme consists of deep reds and blues, and dark wood. All told, it is as pleasant as a cell can be. This morning, like every morning before, I am awakened by a noise outside the door. I climb from the bed just in time to see a thin sheaf of paper slide under the door. I look at it lying there, then turn toward the shelf to find the bottle of Cotard Bourbon and pour myself a double. I down the amber liquid then turn my attention to the paper at my feet. I unfold it and find Chinese writing, just as I expected. The symbols are a mystery to me, but I know just what to do. On the bookshelf next to my bed is a manual entitled “What to Do if They Shove Chinese Writing Under the Door”. I have consulted this book every morning for what I believe has been three years. I cannot be certain of that, though, because my small room contains no clocks or other methods of marking time. Each day is like the one before. Sartre was wrong. Any other person would be a remedy from my hell.

I study the symbols on the paper trying to make some sense of them. Once I am convinced that I cannot, I turn to the book. It only takes a few moments to locate the sequence of symbols and the instructions about which symbols to reply with. I jot down my response on the back of the paper and shove it back under the door, completing my sole interaction for the day. I wish like hell that I could remember what came before this room. It is a blur; a phantasmagoric slide show of moments, images and sounds without context. I have only instants of memory. If I should die in this room, it will be without a name. The thing about memory is that it only has meaning in context, even if you do have a plate full of Madeleines.

After dealing with my Chinese conversation I pour myself another drink, then do two hundred push-ups. It’s important to stay in shape. Soon the slot in the door will open and a plate of food will silently be offered. Then I will get down to the business of the day. Daily business consists of killing time. Each day I pace the distance of the room five hundred times. I concentrate on math puzzles for an hour or so. I enjoy a long bowel movement perched on the toilet in the corner. I try to give myself a name, trying dozens to see if any fit. I do more push-ups and sit-ups. I read part of one of the dozen books on the shelf despite the fact that I have read all of them more times than I can count. Mostly, business is fighting to stay sane.

It’s been more than a year since I spoke.

I am starting to believe that I do not exist. Maybe I am something that a child has imagined. Perhaps I am a character in a comic novel, a work of existentialism. I expect a rhinoceros to wander into my room and smash all of my belongings. I toy with the thought of giving monologues in portmanteau words and slang thrown together from various languages. Instead of a name I could have randomly chosen initials apropos of nothing at all. What, by the way, is the difference between ‘apropos of nothing’ and ‘in non-sequitur’? I’ve never known.

When it seems like enough time has passed for the day to have faded to night, I lie on the bed and sleep.

The next day is exactly the same.

As is the day after that.

And the next.

And the next.

I think another year passes, but as I said before, I have no way to mark time. For all I know I have been in this room for a decade. It seems just as rational to believe that it has been three months. I have no way to tell for sure. Whatever the truth is, I have been in this cell for reasons I cannot comprehend exactly long enough to lose all hope of ever getting to leave.

Caleb Ross

Caleb J. Ross has written a great essay about my eBay generated novel ( Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski Fistfight in Hell) and Jeremy C. Shipp’s Bizarro Bytes story subscription service. I suggest reading it.

I am drunk.


This is being discussed at The Velvet as well.

This is not a contestB

Blake Butler is running a super cool writing contest on his web site.

I need a switchblade.

When it goes wrong

Caleb Ross asked me some questions about my eBay Auction novel (Tom Waits and Charles Bukowski Fistfight in Hell) for an essay he’s writing. He is going to be writing about how authors might make money from writing. I believe that he will also be discussing Jeremy C.. Shipp’s Bizarro Bytes subscription site.

Target Audience Magazine has asked me to write an essay about the eBay novel. All of this attention after the end of the auction is ort of surprising, but quite gratifying.

Ricky wants to catch a redheaded mouse in the mouse’s own trap. I don’t know what that means.

I’m thinking maybe it’s time to get back on the depression meds. Last night was the worst I’ve been in a long time.

I’m reading a book about teaching English in Japan.

I want to dive into the fire.

Fuck this.

I want to skin myself, then give the skin away to a stranger.

It’s a good thing that I have deadlines and such. These are reasons to get out of bed. I need those.

I keep thinking about pointing the truck south and not stopping until I run out of land.

The None Project

Amazon lists an unavailable book, titled None by “None”. I am getting people to review this undescribed, non-existent book. You should review it too. It will be fun.

Free Freaking Books!

Dogzplot, paper Hero Press, is giving away FREE FUCKING BOOKS!