correspondence 9.9.16


art by hope gangloff

From: Babe <>
To: Gordon Flanders <>
Date: Friday, September 9 at 11:00 AM
Subject: 21 days with no incident

It is ten o’clock where I am, at a cafe, on an island down south, where a Thai cook is watching television, having already prepared my breakfast. It is low season, and in the course of the day, I am the only one he will see. Perhaps I will pass by again in the afternoon, for tea and to read my novel. I am reading John le Carré’s Our Kind of Traitor, which is intriguing though not quite as intoxicating as The Little Drummer Girl, which remains my favourite.

It rains lightly in the morning before the sun punches a hole in the storm clouds in the early afternoon. In the evening, strong rain and winds frustrate the hotel’s efforts to provide al fresco dining. This is a pattern that repeats itself the entire time I am here. I am not bothered. It is perfect weather for someone convalescing. While this is a short jaunt– a mere five nights– it is still the longest I’ve been away from home. Two days I’ve been on the island and the vastness of my horizon makes me almost seasick.

I want to read your brown leather book. It’s barenaked and shows straight through to the bone like a leper dead six hours in a pool with a distracted piranha. Ha. That’s brilliant. I could never write properly by hand, but I like my typewriter. I ran out of ribbon though, and as I don’t know where to get things that nobody buys anymore, I may have to resort to Amazon.


I started this email on the island and now I’m back in Bangkok, and my pores are clogged up with pollution too. I feel my leaves slowly curl up around me. I have never liked living in cities, it has always been something of a necessity. I need to be located near a bookstore. Yet I am contemplating packing my life into boxes, moving into a smaller place in Bangkok, and going on the road again. Living out of a suitcase two months at a time. Why? The world has gone mad, have you noticed?

You must be lost somewhere in Asia by now. Are you intoxicated by the alien life?



I can’t conceive of distances either.


From: Gordon Flanders <>
To: Babe <>
Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at 10:16 AM
Subject: Chocolate Raspberry Cake


How are the rains these days?

Madness hits you like a bar of soap. That’s funny. Certainly more accurate than washing over you like a beautiful wave. Yes you really have to be a buddhist about it, or a stoic, or what you think is a stoic, since I tried to learn about stoics and I got bored.

I’m glad you posted your story dead things. I enjoyed reading it. That mother is a piece of work. And that bird! What possessed you to write that way about an eagle! Ha! You’re something else. Shitting all over the dresser. Woo! Shit Christ that’s some kind of image.

I have been writing more by hand in my brown leather book. I’ve been writing in it since 2012. No one sees that and tries to peel away the layers. There wouldn’t be anything to peel if they did. It’s barenaked and shows straight through to the bone like a leper dead six hours in a pool with a distracted piranha. But nah it’s not privacy or the lack thereof is it. You wish the work could stand on it’s own but everyone gets psychoanalyzed from Blake to Didion. But that’s half the point. Fuck it. If they think you were sexually abused as a child based on the story well shit I guess you’ve crafted a reality for someone and I guess that’s what it’s all about. Writing fiction, I mean. But anyway shit I’m not deriding you for having to get up your courage to post it. Gertrude Stein never had to read blog comments.

Limn is a great word but I don’t know how to use it. Please demonstrate.

I like the man in that painting and I would like to be him, at least for a time, because alcohol soothes the boredom. On the rare occasion I get to drink these days, with the working all the time and having the same days off as my wife, on half of those rare occasions things really work out well. As it stands I drink an average of two beers three times a week, which is just enough to not be able to say that you haven’t drank anything at all. Ha! Well. Anyway. Doesn’t matter. The worst is over for now.

I’m reading Moby Dick, did I tell you that already? I’m two thirds of the way through. The first third was great. I feel like I’ve written this already but I am too damn lazy to look. You know what I hate? Clicking all around the screen to check things. That’s why I don’t post links, too. I would like to link my posts together more but I’m just too damn lazy for that. Moby Dick has a lot of really killer lines. Like one every other paragraph. This mother fucker knew how to handle English. I never seen a whale up close, but I can’t imagine the dimensions he gives are real. Probably the whales were bigger back then before garbage islands and ozone depletion or whatever else. Probably he’s taking some dramatic license. He says it’s eight feet from the top of the sperm whale’s head to where his mouth is at the bottom of his head. I guess that’s reasonable if you think about. But you don’t know what eight feet is anyway. Two point something meters. Can you conceive of distances? I can’t. A meter is about the limit of my ability to accurately imagine the size of something.

I’m writing in my brown leather diary because I needed to know that the way I write on my blog was the same way I would write if no one was reading. It’s not at all. Every communication is artifice.

Don’t underestimate the value of entertainment. All work and no play makes Jill a dull girl. That’s what I learned a few weeks ago. It has helped a little bit.

In the city you can’t walk around with your ears open. There’s too much pollution. Much too much pollution and unsolicited bullshit. I used to think I should walk around and experience the moment. We all need a place in the sun and we’re all trying to get it in the same place like a bunch of dumb-fuck assholes. So keep the ears plugged up with house music and remember that everyone else is living their own dream and you don’t want to interrupt. Here even the destitute and the pick-pockets don’t want your kindness. Plug up the ears, grope around in the dark if you have to and turn up the music and find your way to the punch-clock. It’s a stupid thing. But as you can see, the rotten fish in Chinatown and the working models in Soho find a way inside through your pores and that’s more than enough experience and living in the moment for one human animal without leaving the larger orifices unguarded.

I miss those times we would comment on each other’s posts in real time, and I made you laugh and you made me think. The whole world is a wheel so I won’t despair, not because I don’t think it’s a good idea…but because…well I don’t know, maybe I will despair after all.

Best of luck out there in the wilderness of civilization.




About listentothebabe

writing is the teeth that gnaw on my bones.


  1. jillianmrks

    Lovely. Just lovely, babe. I wish I had a friend like Flanders.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been disconnected so long I forgot how much I missed reading you both.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Fuck you two, you’re too good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Correspondence 10.4.16 | Anyone's Ghost

  5. Pingback: Correspondence 22.03.17 | Anyone's Ghost

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