The Davi Question

A number of readers have asked: is Davi a boy or a girl., both or neither? That's a hard one to answer. Given that Meet me in the Strange is told by Davi, we never get a solid "he" or "she" - only "I."

I see Davi through a retrofuturist lens. Glam rock, from its beginnings, blurred the boundaries between the sexes. I'd often see the word "androgynous" used to describe Bowie, Eno, Jobriath and other early glam rockers. Literally, "androgynous" means man-woman or masculine-feminine. When the first pioneers crossed the gender boundaries, fans, music writers and people gawking from the outside had fewer words than we do now to describe the phenomenon. And it was far more risky, even dangerous, to "take a walk on the wild side," (as Lou Reed put it.)

Some readers see Davi as a boy and some as a girl, some don't care, and some project onto Davi their own fears and desires. Meet me in the Strange started with Anna Z. - a girl at a concert, overwhelmed, blissed-out. Davi was the observer, the teller of the tale, and because they both live in a world of glam rock fantasy, Davi's sex, or gender, or whatever word you use, dissolves in the mist and music.


Meet Me in the Strange has been called a "retrofuturist novel." That is, it looks back and embraces much of the style, music, and attitudes of  '70s era glam rock. (And yes I was there, listening to Bowie, T Rex, Mott the Hoople, Roxy Music, Eno, New York Dolls.) It also looks to an alternate future - when the world (especially for two wild teenagers) is mutating into something strange, unpredictable and amazing.

Can a person be haunted by ghosts from the future? Why not? Can we send our minds (and eyes and ears) back to a time when things were better (or at least much cooler?) I say: absolutely. A very smart (and somewhat sad) person once said, "The past is where they keep all the good stuff." Music, books, art, movies, snazzy-looking clothes, heroes. This is partly cheap nostalgia. But here in the present we can look back at the past and recognize the really good things that will last.

What's ahead? One thing is for sure: new experiences. So Meet Me in the Strange exists in a weird limbo: forward and backward, there and not-here-yet, maybe and if only.

Dagon and the Hand-Jive


You got a crazy little finger, a crazy little thumb.
You got a crazy little organ, think I'm gonna get me some.
Everybody get religion. Everybody get a stick.
Everybody get some fish eggs and beat 'em till they're thick.

Hand-jive Dagon do the slime
digits working overtime
Come on all you Philistines
it's time to make the scene.

Sharkskin suit and cheaters too.
You got a mirror shine on a cloven shoe.
Up all night in the Temple of Cool,
worldwide champ of pocket pool.

Hand-jive Dagon do the slime
digits working overtime
Come on all you Philistines
it's time to make the scene.

Voltage Hymn


Rise perfect voltage, pow'r and light
whose majesty is unconfined.
Indwell this luminary night
the shining darkness of the mind.

Your inward speaking wakes the dead
and by its tongue they understand
the excellence of words unsaid
the silence that you can command.

Pure generation - turbines turn
in deepest earth where few may go.
These mortal coils forever burn.
This is the truth we all must know.

Copper and iron make the life
that flowing current - liquid love.
mated as man and fated wife
like waters fall endless from above.

When we are risen, turned to light
then we shall see as those once blind
transformed as day is turned to night
filled with the brilliance of your mind.

My Secret Mess

I've been writing by hand again - Pilot G-2 gel pens on lined paper. These early drafts are a slithery secret mess, full of cross-outs, blobs of black ink oozing through the pages, words I can't read ten minutes later, arrows pointing upward and down, private abbreviations and meaningless squiggles. I just finished a new novel - the whole thing done first by hand. A thousand words a day at my kitchen table, then downstairs to the screen and keyboard. Typing them in reduces the heady generative chaos. It's necessary of course, if I want anyone else to read the words. But every time, I feel a pang of loss. Creativity is a mess, or it's nothing.

Happy Doomsday

High point of the weekend: singing shape note music for three hours at a Mennonite Church. No mikes or amps, no instruments, no audience, four part harmony, a couple dozen people, loud and raw. Some of the songs - like my current fave, "Doomsday" - go back to the mid 1700s. "Behold! with awful pomp, the Judge prepares to come. The Archangel sounds the dreadful trump and wakes the general doom. The living look with dread, the frightful dead arise, start from the monumental bed and lift their ghastly eyes." Out of the grave - singing. Up to the skies- on wings of wonderful-terrible song.


When I get sick, when the fever spikes, my thoughts get scrambled. The flu hit on Friday and by Monday, I was hot, achy, and delirious. The whole time, I was reading Brian Jones: The Making Of The Rolling Stones. Highly recommended (the book, not the flu.) Brian founded and named the band, and taught Mick and Keith how to be rock stars. It's not a happy story - but full of exotica, sixties high flash fashion, beautiful girls and journeys into weirdness. Fave episode: Brian travels to Morocco to record a crazed all-night ritual to conjure up the Great God Pan. A sacrificial goat, endless drumming and dancing. I was feverish through the whole thing (the book, not the ritual.) Do me a favor - find it - I think it's all true - and see if what I remember is actually there.