In Praise of the Dumpster Fire

by helenzuman, April 29, 2019 in General, Madgelma

In the days and weeks and months and years before MOSS, Madgelma had thought, a lot, about the polyculture of stories. She remembered learning, in high school biology, that scientists liked to conduct experiments on ­­Drosophila melanogaster—the fruit fly—because it reproduced so quickly: they could observe, within forty-eight hours or so, the implications of a […]

Driving the Soul Thieves from the Temple

by helenzuman in General, Madgelma

Madgelma didn’t know what had gotten into her, on that particular day; she did know that the sweep of her arm seemed inexorable, as she shoved that first laptop off the table. She was staying at a hostel in Scotland, on the sacred Isle of Iona. There was a sign posted on the door to […]

What Violence Means to Me

by helenzuman in General

Let’s talk about violence. Violence is. It manifests in countless forms, beyond shootings and knifings and fist fights. I sometimes call motor vehicles “motor weapons” because of the swath of death they leave in their wake (30,000-40,000 humans, and uncounted non-humans, die each year on the road, in the United States alone). And then there’s […]

Jeremiad, with Tar and Carrots

by helenzuman in General

In my last post, I reviewed an epic, partly autobiographical novel called Sanction (which I am not necessarily recommending for your reading pleasure, as it is shocking and horrifying in some ways, and decidedly not for the easily offended), by Roman McClay. Among its many unusual features are detailed renderings—from the author’s life—of drilling for […]

When It Sobs, It Sings: A Review of SANCTION (Volume I)

by helenzuman in General

I don’t re-read books, as a rule—but I am now re-reading Sanction (Volume I), by Roman McClay. Why? Let me tell you a story. In 1994, when I was a freshman at Harvard, my mother gave me a copy of a book—published by The Subway and Elevated Press Company (and featuring a shout-out to my […]

Weaving Spells

by helenzuman in General

For years, in my late teens and early twenties, I carried the following lines by Annie Dillard with me, invoking them in hopes of absorbing the ache of my most wrenching choices: “There are no events but thoughts and the heart’s hard turning, the heart’s slow learning where to love and whom. The rest is […]

How I Quit (Anti)Social Media and Reclaimed My Brain

by helenzuman in General

Or, My Path to Internet Sovereignty, in Ten Harrowing Steps: 1. At the suggestion of Sarah Mac, of Money Mindset for Creatives, I tracked my time, in fifteen-minute increments, for a dozen or so days—and found that the three activities I didn’t feel good about could be summed up in a simple acronym: EFT. No, […]

Zendiks vs. Christians in New Orleans

by helenzuman in Cults, General, Memoir, Zendik

[Mardi Gras was one Zendik’s biggest money-makers. Each year, a passel of us descended on New Orleans and sold ourselves silly. Fanatics of other stripes also saw opportunity. In early 2000, after I’d been at the Farm for a few months and sold a handful of far tamer scenes, I begged a chance at the […]

Book Voyage

by helenzuman in General

It’s September 14, 2018. I’m sitting on the floor by an open window, in a spare bedroom in a doublewide trailer in Phoenicia, New York. This evening, at the Golden Notebook in Woodstock, my dear ex-Zendik friend Kyra and I will offer the final episode of Composting Utopia: The 2018 Zendik Reunion Tour. Tomorrow, she […]

What My Hands Said

by helenzuman in General

A couple weeks ago, the outsides of my hands started to feel numb and tingly. What, I wondered, did they want me to know? I’d had this problem before—most notably, and severely, in fall 2015, when I was both completing the final revision of my book and ramping up my work as an editor of […]