Hello, Failure

Of all the enemies of literature, success is the most insidious

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Failure of the Day: Lumps and Sparkles

I’ve never been able to see things in clouds. It might be that I would sooner jam thumbtacks into my gums than lie down on grass, look up at the sky, and try to see junk in clouds, but mostly, I really think it’s that I’m just not good at seeing that kind of thing. What I’m good at—what I’m really, really good at—is seeing things in the sparkly lumpy stuff they put on the ceilings of almost every bedroom I’ve ever had.

Up until recently, one of the lamps in our bedroom cast a shadow on the ceiling that looked just like a big monkey face. Couscous the ceiling monkey was our pal for almost the whole first year we lived in this apartment, but he died when we had to change the light bulb in that lamp. The new bulb casts a totally different shadow that looks kind of like a cubist goat, but it’s just not the same.

I was sad about Couscous, but then I found Willem Dafoe. He lives on my ceiling too, near the window. He looks down upon me from on high, all full of goodness and benevolence. Lucky for me, he doesn’t rely on shadows; he’s made entirely of lumps and sparkles. There’s lots of other things and other faces on my ceiling, and I'm always finding new ones but Willem is always right there, all sharp angles and acne scars and kind of nasty smile.

Chris cant see him, but he's there. Right next to the two-headed turtle eating a wedge of pie.


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