:::this is the way the world ends:::

Francisco’s Journey (J. E. Part VI)

“I love you too sugar lips but ya can’t be pass’n out in the store.”

Francisco woke, relieved to see Eugene sneering down at him. Eugene, foul of smell and worse of character was rarely seen by customers yet Francisco saw a lot of him. Still, better to be thrown out on your ear by Eugene than face the phantom of your baby-mother ex-girlfriend.

Predictably, in the next moment Francisco found himself in a sprawling pile with a trench coat and notebook garnish on the street. “Another day in paradise,” he muttered and picked himself up.

Eugene locked the door, and trudged back toward the kitchen but Pete held him up.

“Hey boss, ol’ Francis out there has nearly drunk up all his product. You want me to call corporate?”

“Corporate? Fuck corporate. Five parts rot-gut, one part Grey Poupon. Mix it up your own goddamn self.”


  1. Shotts

    Ha, great to see this come full around to the original author. Nicely done.

  2. J.E.

    Can we declare the blog revived? I think this is an excellent use. I’ve check it more times in the last week than I did in the last three months.

    The thanks, as always, goes to Toby.

    And I think that a week turn-around is a good minimum. If anyone isn’t able to do this (even a sentence counts) do they get skipped to keep it moving?

  3. Ned

    I agree the blog is revived. It might be interesting (not that this is in anyway halted, on the contrary… but it might be interesting to put up pictures or drawings or some kind of image that the writer has to respond to or incorporate (no pun intended). This could be done with the current story or done in a different way. This wouldn’t have to happen immediately, but might be something to think on for the future. I also agree, nice to see the orginator bring it full circle.

  4. J.E.

    I had the same thought Ned. For some reason I keep seeing our little story in the graphic novel format. That said, any image would do but I wouldn’t want it to be compulsory. I don’t want anything to prevent us from posting new segments.

  5. Ned

    I guess I am resolved to incorporate some visual elements in my next section.

    I doubt I will be doing a lot of drawing for this (way too time consuming), but maybe a photo, a sketch or scribble, or even just a download.

    I think a graphic novel would be great, but they are incredibly involved. I guess I was envisioning something more along the lines of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer. He includes pictures and altered text, etc. into his book. I liked it a lot.

  6. Ned

    Toby, are you with us?

  7. J.E.

    Hey Ned, speaking of graphic novels, if you haven’t seen this already, I think you’d like it.


  8. Shotts

    The blog is revived, in terms of getting things up and moving. But really, I don’t want the blog to just be a serial story we all append our two cents to every week. I’m all for it, now and again, but I guess to me, the heart of the blog was always about personal conversation, sharing news, and making plans for gathering and whatnot. And of course, lively debate about politics, books, art, movies, etc.

    That said, I’m happy to contribute to the string of writing, in whatever form. I like Ned’s idea of responding to an image or including images in some way. And I’m all for the one-sentence minimum and the week turnaround or that person is skipped.

    So is Toby now up, and are we continuing “Francisco’s Journey” or are we on to another thread?

    You know, we should figure out a way to make the blog (or create a new site) our livelihoods, and figure out some public, larger-scale kind of site with discussions of various topics, and get big enough that we begin to attract readers and advertisers. In some sense we could start a site “for Hollow Men everywhere.” With Toby’s web and design savvy and our collective interests, we could have various features, columns, and articles, and discussion topics for guys who want to discuss art, film, liquor, books, movies, marriage, religion, fatherhood, and the ins and outs of the great middle swath of our country, from the great southern vistas of Texas, to the plains and practicality of Kansas, to the northern climes of Minnesota. We could call it “The Middle Brow,” which alludes to our position in the country and also to that place where high art and mockery meet. Think about it.

  9. Ned

    Thanks for Posting about the Photographer. I have it on order to the library here. So now I just wait.

    In terms of expanding the blog, I don’t mind having outside viewers, which we technically have now, but I am anxious about promoting it too much. Some of what I like about this is that it is intimate in the sense that there is a lot that goes on here that no one else would understand. Another site would work for more public debates/ discussion, but that’s a whole ‘nother beast.

    That’s my two cents.

  10. Shotts

    I was talking about the whole other beast.

  11. Ned

    Toby, I’m holding my breath here.

  12. Tobias

    I will have the next segment in Francisco’s Journey up today….

  13. Tobias

    Sorry about taking so long to reply to this thread of comments. Even though I’ve been quiet, it’s been exciting to read the energy that’s come back into the blog.

    A lot of blogs out there solely find other people’s original content (or commentary) and comment on it. It seems this blog is most alive when we’re exploring the creative (by creating or responding), or pausing in the midst of a lot of busyness to ponder and start a conversation with each other. It’s also alive when we’re talking logistics about meeting up in real life or making plans. I think it’s a hodgepodge of all of the above. I, like Shotts, am reluctant to reforge the blog into a singular purpose. Let’s keep it as all of the above. But I have really enjoyed the story.

    Also, I am all about the “organicness” of the blog. If it dies, it dies. If we want to move somewhere else for a while, let’s move. I didn’t mind the 3-month lull. If anything, it’s allowed me to have the energy to come back once I realized how much I missed it.

    So I think the “image” is a fantastic idea. In fact, when J.E. and I started this little experiment with Francisco ten or so years ago, I also asked J.E. to mail me a photograph. The photograph would spur a story. So, I was actually planning on finding the photo and posting it too. J.E., if I remember correctly, it was a photo you took at Frank Black Pipe & Supply one summer. I don’t know if I’ll find it, but it would be fun to incorporate images into Francisco’s story, and also to have new stories/poems/essays spurred by images.

    Oh, and I am totally up for the Other Beast of “The Middle Brow.” I even love the name as-is. I don’t see a reason other people wouldn’t be fascinated by us (or personas we’d create). Of course, it may take a bit of time for people to get used to us. It’d be a great way to start something that could be economically helpful to us and let us use our gifts. We could start small, and if it draws an audience, we could devote more and more time to it as the financial support permits.

    Let’s keep talking about that….

  14. Shotts

    Thanks, Tob. You are, as usual, the best of us. You have a frank and willing way with the blog, and it’s appreciated.

    Regarding “The MIddlebrow,” maybe we could see if there’s interest from any other of the HM. Obviously to do it right, it would need promotion and marketing, and well, money. But if we were each interested in taking a sort of topic or column to create–on art or on movies or on the economy or whatever it is–we could see if we would have an array of content possibilities. Toby would need to lead, certainly, in terms of web and tech issues. Then we’d have to try to go viral and tell as many people as we could about the site/blog, and get it moving, and try to win an audience. Not an easy prospect, and maybe there’s no real interest. But wouldn’t it somehow be great if we were able to make our group into our livelihoods and we would all, in effect, be partners in our own shared business? Or maybe we’re just not that interesting.

    Does Slate.com have a column titled “The Middlebrow”? We’d have to see if the name is free for our use. Anyway, just having fun thinking about this. Some of this comes from seeing how HUGE some of these parenting blogs have gotten: they’re basically conversations, daily thoughts, issues, and links, but they’ve gotten popular enough to win a larger and larger audience so that advertisers have wanted to place ads on their site. Some of these have even landed the blogger(s) fairly lucrative book deals, speaking engagements, etc. It’s kind of insane and hilarious. There’s a rash of “mommy” and “daddy” books out now that first were blog concepts. Of course, very few actually get national/international audiences (thankfully), but it’s out there….


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