Tuesday, February 26, 2008

about tao; ala tao

i am about to blog about tao lin's reading and stay in lawrence, kansas. i will probably do it kind of backwards -- from when i dropped tao off at the airport. i guess i will go back and ad links at the end, like tao did at his blog, but i don't even know if anyone will read this, but it is good practice for writing memoirs about the writers i meet. i will publish a book one day called bowling with ted enslin, which i did, and when i did it i was an asshole on the way to the restaurant that we were going to before the bowling alley. we got lost in the city and mark nowak was driving and i called my mother and asked her for directions and she was asking questions so i kept saying, "just give me the address. just give me the address for conejito's." i thought i saw mark nowak's eyebrows raise in the rearview mirror and i thought i felt ted enslin become tense and grip his cane hard. i don't even remember if he had a cane. stacy szymaszek was waiting for us with lisa jarnot of lisablog, i think. or some other poet. i can't remember. now for the tao hours.

when i dropped tao lin off at the airport he said "thanks for driving me to the airport" and "if you come to new york you can stay at my place". i kept thinking that he was doing that just to be polite, like that is what people say when they just slept on your couch, but he didn't have to. i didn't think he liked me because sometimes tao is "hard to read". i said "ok thanks" and tao slammed the door.

on the ride back to the airport we learned that missouri is "the show me state" and i said something about voyeurism. tao said "the show me your tits state." i laughed at that a lot. before that, at the toll on i-70, i told tao to throw his grape twig out the window. he wanted to throw it at the person working at the toll booth and yell "grapes!" i laughed at that but told him not to. he threw the grape twig out the window after i paid the toll. "did you get it out?" i asked. he said yes. i told him about a long standing fantasy of mine about slapping a whole raw fish down in front of a stranger in a cafeteria and yelling "here's your fucking fish!" and then walking away. i don't remember if tao laughed at that. i wanted him to laugh but then i just told him some stories from the "glory days" of college because i felt awkward. i told him about getting naked in the student union. i don't know what tao thought about that because he was using a "neutral facial expression" and that made me stop talking for a while. tao had his shoes off in the car, i think. maybe i just thought that because he kept taking his shoes off in the car before this, especially when we were driving around on massachusetts street.

before we left to go back to the airport, tao ate grapes and he ate them on the way too. he ate a lot of grapes in 24 hours or less. probably an actual bunch of grapes. he ate a lot in general and slowly worked his way towards obesity in about 18 hours. he patted his belly at one point and smiled at me. i told him to let me know if he needed to purge. he said something about HBO that i didn't hear or comprehend. it seemed like it should have been funny so i laughed. that was at deb's house, the day before. in my kitchen the next morning tao told me that it might be bad to take 3-6-9 Omega Fatty Acid gelcaps without food, so i took a tablet and ate a banana. when we walked out to the car to go to the airport, i threw the banana peel at a wall of a neighboring abandoned building and said something that i wanted tao to laugh at but i'm not sure if he did. tao walked behind me a lot so i could not see what he laughed at or didn't laugh at, and when gabe was with us tao walked behind both gabe and i a lot.

tao slept on my couch. i forgot to ask if he slept well or at all. he wasn't going to turn off the lamp until i told him he could. that made me think that he was a very nice person and that i liked him and that maybe we were friends or like friends. friends don't turn friends' lahttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifmps off without permission, i guess. he used a stuffed octopus that my girlfriend made for me as a pillow. one of my favorite things was when tao put the octopus on his head ( this but bigger and orange) and kept picking it up and dropping it onto the couch. i didn't know why he did that.

before tao slept on my couch, he used the internet at least twice. i think that tao likes the internet a lot. so do i. we have that in common. after tao used the internet the first time, i played him a song from my itunes music library which has like 12,000 songs now. "hard drive swap," i said to tao on the way back to the airport. he asked me what that was exactly and i told him.

tao started to look at my itunes and i stood behind him and told him we could make a playlist and burn a cd with 500 songs on it and tao looked at me. his eyes looked wide and i thought maybe sometimes he tries to look like a hamster because he writes about them. i felt like i was standing too close to him so i said sorry and went into the other room to read roberto bolaƱo stories for deb's class the next day. i liked the stories a lot and thought they were similar to tao's writing, but i never told him that because earlier that night, after tao and i dropped deb off at her house, i tried to tell tao why i liked his writing and i did a bad job but i felt tao appreciated it and that made me feel good. he had a sort of happy look on his face and was eating broccoli, corn chips, and vegan carrot cake. shortly before i talked about tao's writing in a very stupidly emo way, tao said "this was my favorite reading ever." that humbled me.

at my apartment after we dropped deb off, tao said "everyone gets their own house here." i said "what." tao said that i have my own place and deb has her own place. i told him it was cheap or maybe i just thought that. i remember standing very close to tao at that point and i don't know why we were standing so close together. i felt like i wanted to take care of him and that i wanted to make him obese. in the morning when tao ate grapes again he said "you have broccoli too" and i asked if he wanted some and he said no and i felt a little disappointed but then thought "more broccoli for me" and then "yay" but i didn't say those things to tao.

this is getting to be a long blogpost and i think that i should send it to someone to edit, maybe anne boyer or gabe or tao even. i should probably edit this or stop writing. but i feel like people want to know more about the things tao did in kansas. i am going to skip the reading part because maybe deb will write about that or maybe anne will, or maybe an actual kansas intern will write about the reading.

when i was burning a cd for tao, he danced on top of my guitar case in his socks and said "when i am in my room listening to music this is what i do". then he jumped off the guitar case. he did not want to play my guitar. i felt ok about that.

at night at my apartment tao asked if i wanted to swap books with him so he could have something new to read on the plane. i said yes. he gave me chilly scenes of winter by ann beattie and i gave him anne boyer's new book of poetry, the romance of happy workers.

when i was in bed tao asked through my door if he could use the internet again and i said "of course" and thought "mi casa su casa." i couldn't sleep for a while after because i was afraid that tao found out that i look at internet pornography and that maybe he would hate me in the morning. then i started thinking about short stories that i might write and making tao into a character but still using his name. i also thought about writing a story with a narrator and an author where the narrator says things and then i, the author, comment on those things, like asides. it seemed like good idea when i was falling asleep but now i think it's dumb, maybe.

between the reading and dropping deb off at her house we were at a bar with lots of other people and i didn't talk to tao or deb but i talked to becca evanhoe and lucas, who was elliott stevens' friend, and stephen lewis a little bit. stephen lives in lawrence but i met him in a comment box to one of tao's blogposts. at the bar tao talked to elliott and deb and did this thing where he circled someone's cup with his wine glass, and then he looked through his wine glass at deb and i thought "tao" like that was a fully formed thought to have at that moment. i felt happy and a little sad because "tao."

gabe drove with me to pick tao up from the airport and we were worried that tao would hate kansas or not like us. when tao got off the plane i waved. tao waved and smiled really big and that made me feel better. i don't know about gabe, how it made him feel. when we walked to the car we walked down some steps that were chained off. there was blue salt on the steps to melt the ice. tao said "why is this snow blue." gabe and i laughed and said that it was salt. i don't know if tao was joking but either way it was funny.

we drove in the wrong direction on i-29 and tao said "since the airport" and i said yes and was worried that tao would kill me or not have a good time because we drove in the wrong direction. but then there was a sign that said "boat sale" or "boat show" and tao thought that was funny and tried to take a picture of it with his phone, so then i felt better. also, i asked tao if his shit was black and he said "not right now" or "no" -- i can't remember because i might be thinking about the story that tao wrote about a lunch he had where someone asked someone else if they had black shit. i think tao laughed a little and that made me feel better, too.

i told tao and gabe about how my dad juices and wants to eventually achieve a mostly raw diet. i think tao said "i like him" about my dad at one point. then gabe and i told tao about "the juice stop" -- a place in lawrence where you can have vegetable and fruit juices. we decided to go to the juice place. tao kept saying "are we near the juice place" and "is the juice place near here". we stopped to get gas. gabe said a pop up trailer looked smelly and sad. tao and gabe talked about florida.

tao is a word like fuck now, very versatile. tao means many things, like "grape glutton" or "kinetically towards the obese." gay for tao, yay tao, nuts for tao lin.


AAKI said...

I like the part about the grape twig.

brandon said...

"i remember standing very close to tao at that point and i don't know why we were standing so close together. i felt like i wanted to take care of him and that i wanted to make him obese."

this is funny it made me laugh, i liked your account

Robert J. said...

thank you brandon that is nice of you to say. you should write an account of what you were doing when you were not in lawrence watching tao lin read or hop around or drink juice.

Tao Lin said...

i like how your blog looks

ellen said...

This was my favorite account of Tao Lin in Kansas, particularly the part where you write:

'he danced on top of my guitar case in his socks and said "when i am in my room listening to music this is what i do". then he jumped off the guitar case.'

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