Stamped “Fresh” by the Ivy League

So the Manly Fireplug brought his iPod dock to Hawaii, and there we got laid to the sounds of Amy Winehouse, whom I liked much more than I thought I would. I mean, the song “Back to Black” kind of burrowed its way into my head, reminding me romantically of some of my past misdeeds. None of my current misdeeds, of course. I’m nothing but an honorable man now.

In the mornings we ate in the restaurant of our hotel, the Queen Kapiolani, affectionately nicknamed by our posse as “The Queen Krap.” The restaurant, like the rest of the hotel, had seen better days, but I appreciated its down-at-the-heels aesthetic. Kind of like Amy Winehouse, now that I think about it. A hotel forever caught in the tropics of 1973.

The Fireplug tore open a packet of C&H sugar for his coffee, then read its label. “Guess where this came from,” he said.

“The Big Island?” I asked.

“No. Yonkers.”

It was a repeat of our last year’s trip, though this year it was more of a working vacation for me, as I spent the two five-hour plane rides, and several hours a day in the Queen Krap, working on my thesis, which I Fed-Exed back to Columbia yesterday, in time for Monday’s deadline. Yep, that part of my life is now over. In May, if all goes well, I should get my MFA, which the Fireplug in Hawaii decided meant, “Mighty Fine Ass.” He’s sweet like that.

In January, upon first print, the thesis totaled 369 pages. I spent the next month cutting, fleshing out, and polishing it into a 270-page, leaner, meaner manuscript. And though it’s far from perfect, I’m proud of it.

I surpassed the 120-page minimum for thesis requirements, but at 270 pages it’s still only two-thirds of my intended book. I still have a lot of work ahead of me before I send it off to agents. So today I went back to my new office and back to work on the rest of the book. I read some interview recently with Michael Chabon, who writes 1000 words a day, five days a week. I figured I could do that, too.

Not too long ago the Fireplug was running into Spike’s coffee, across the street from his barbershop, and a boy at one of the outside tables yelled to him, “Hey! Tell Dogpoet to put some excerpts of his book on his blog!”

The Fireplug yelled back, “Fuck no! He’s done with giving it away for free!”

I really do love the guy.

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