two mules

I am on the phone —

With a journalist.

He is having a minor psychotic break. Maybe a major psychotic break. He has forgotten how to write.

This happens. I know a guy who has written seventeen published novels but every time he starts a new one he does not remember how to write a book.

This is different.

I am, at the time, on deadline, with forty-eight hours till turn in. So it is maybe not convenient to spend hours [and it is hours] talking someone off a ledge. But, I do.

The reporter is doing a story on a school. One of those new age very artsy schools that are private and expensive and somewhat outside normal curiculum except for meeting state imposed curiculum guidelines [maybe] which have gotten to be pretty loose. A kid died at the school. He is investigating the school. Looking for something wrong. His assignment is roast the school. He is looking for something bad. And cannot find it.

We talk.

And the info drops adult instructors are dancing naked with teen students around a campfire and also having sex with students.

I say, Well that is maybe your angle.

He says, Huh?

I say, It is inappropriate for adult teaching faculty to dance naked with teenage students and have sex with them.

He says, “It is?”

I know two things at this moment: One, I will never date this man; two, something is seriously wrong with the environment he grew up in.


where the art work comes from :
that is a shot by theresa manzanares

21 Responses to boundaries

  1. Whoa. I am not sure what I am more stunned at, that this was the part he finally got around to mentioning or that he genuinely didn’t realize, duh, how wrong it was (and what a big angle that was). Geez.

    But you are a very good friend to have spent time talking him down from the ledge. If I’d heard that tidbit, I’d have pushed him off. And probably dropped something on him. (Okay, maybe not, but I’d have thought about it.)

  2. As someone who worked as a photojournalist for several years all I can write is, “What?”

    Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to jail dumbass. While there, ponder a new career… Hopefully, one that does not involve critical thought, or working with minors.

  3. I would call “instructors dancing naked with teen students around a campfire and also having sex with students” outside the normal curriculum. I am shocked.

  4. aj

    I like the photo more so than the journalist.

  5. max

    Isn’t that photo great? That is Theresa Manzanares I really love her photography work.

    The journalist… there is something real disconcerting about talking with someone who appears functional except then this huge blank spot surfaces that is so glaring and you are just thinking, How did this vaccuum occur in you? And how do you not know it is there? How do you not even know that is so off you should be faking something there to cover that?

  6. well. I think I won’t sue. in fact, I’m quite flattered. thank you!

    but I do try to make a living as an artist. so throw a girl some work, eh? :)

    and as far as the post goes, I thought you were doing some creative writing. that guy really exists? (shudder).

  7. max

    Oh cool. No law suits. Yay!

    Love your work. If the opportunity to throw someone with cash your way comes along I will.

    Yeah, that guy really exists. He puts up a good front most of the time too I know people who still associate with him and think he is a human. I do not.

  8. An Ivory Tower- or Ivy Covered Walls won’t keep you safe from Predators.

    It’s a fact.

  9. sulya

    I would like to think there is a moral compass on which this man has well and truly lost his grip and not that it is the compass, itself, which is broken. Though, in reading and living I have found that his sort of thinking pervades in a way that is horrifying…

    I would like to think that investigative journalists have some sense – even in the most superficial way – of sensationalism and a good lead. Though, from what I’ve seen lately, I’m not entirely sure…

    I cannot imagine that conversation, max. The world’s loudest “PING” in one’s mind at the discovery that you’ve put precious hours into helping someone who is off their rocker. Ah, well, I’ve been there – though perhaps not quite with someone so far off of said rocker…

  10. max

    Sulya you got your voice back yay!

  11. sulya

    I am no longer pink. I am no longer salty. I am no longer stuck in my weirdly shaped can. No longer spam am I.

    Thank you for the “yay”.

  12. I…um. Wow.

    I think that’s about all there is to say.


  13. OK so this is the kind of person I would not talk down off the ledge, rather I might say you better jump.

  14. Uhm… in KY, for you to not immediately report this to Child Protective Services would make you complicit in the crime (presuming that the students are under the legal age of consent). Likewise the… uhm… dickwad journalist.

    Date him? How did you not bash in his skull with the nearest blunt instrument (trombone, tuba, piano)?

  15. Max, they really know how to find you!

  16. That man is in the wrong job. If what he is saying is true, he is sitting on one of the biggest scandals in recent history…

    Ok, it’s not about the “story”, I know. I feel a bit ill thinking about what’s going on, and something obviously needs to be done about it, and WHERE are his moral boundaries….but from a journalistic point of view…. hello?

  17. Oh wow, Max. How could this guy not know this is wrong?
    Now I can’t help but wonder if he did any naked dancing with some of the students.

  18. You should have let him jump.

  19. Nancy


    I cry and beat my own limbs because as an editor, how could a writer be so clueless? How did he get this assignment? If he doesn’t know this is wrong he should not be writing a word for ANY magazine or newspaper.

  20. That’s bizzare…

  21. Ooops…let’s try that again…sorry for the gaseous spelling discharge.

    That’s B-I-Z-A-R-R-E…

    I swear, if it wasn’t for computers and spellcheck, I’d be trying to earn a living based on my even more limited skills as a manual laborer…maybe happier?

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