All posts by Barrett Warner

About Barrett Warner

Lives 12 miles from where he was born, like a box turtle. Favors legumes over meat, and Bowie over Norman Mailer. Often betrays a slight swivel when standing still. Family members would rather not sit next to him on airplanes. When the music stops he’s the one still dancing. Longs for a sense of community, yet never knows what to say in groups of three or four. He’d probably be the drummer, or the drummer’s girlfriend. Has an MFA from Bennington College, but tends to avoid the room where it hangs (beside the piano). Edits. Teaches. Panels. All that. Reads with a pencil to underline the “good” parts. Interested in presidential biographies, memoir, and “Collected Letters.” Gently cries during Boston Mutual Life Insurance commercials. Collects miniature plastic swords to keep iconic sandwiches from falling apart Current affairs a plus. Go ahead, ask him something about Venezuela. Raises a few horses and other “outdoor” animals. Wakes up at night in a cold sweat, sure that he heard a funny sound in his dream.

Freshening Up My Garbage

Like a kid given permission to play Hypnospace Outlaw for an hour a day, I’ve been working on my website. I’m an author, and a dreamer, so it’s a ‘literary’ website. But I’m also sluggish and forgetful, so mine is a ‘memory’ and ‘motivation’ website too.

Motivated in some urging way–getting prompted, taking some stick–and full of ludicrous goal-oriented objectives like Chaucer. I love it when someone shouts me to the finish (Come on with the Seven horse!) when I have no shot of getting there.

The website is just a way to tell myself I saw something, or did something, or felt something in my dream and I wrote it down, or should be writing it down, even if Canterbury pilgrims don’t make any sense to me.

My “Home Page” is saying, “Someone made a mountain in my window. There’s snow on the peak. It’s a hundred degrees in the valley. I wish I had a bicycle.”

I looked at a lot of other writer websites before freshening up my garbage. Most had way smarter minimalism than mine—a few notes, a brag page, white backgrounds, no graphics to distract you from the links. Very professional.

Nothing buttoned askew. No collars akimbo. No one spelling Death with a long e-vowel, Deeth.

Most were websites I’d bring home to meet my mother. I can hear her saying, “Aren’t you adorable? Here, have some Jell-O.”

Sure, you want to have a way for people to reach you, but are they reaching you or your persona? Is it a persona, or is it something darker? My “Contact Page” says, “Follow this link to another website if you want to leave a message for my fictive internet identity. Don’t be anonymous.”

That’s the big hurt of making a website. You have to confront the Narcissism of your being ashamed and shy.  I must have a thousand words to describe my abashed bone, how it swivels and spins in the back of my head. I’m the one who brings three suitcases to the nudist campground. It’s so hard choosing what not to wear.

I might be a mini, even though I’m pleated in a deceptively jaunty style in person. But, as a writer, I lean toward being a maxi. That hem falls well below the knee.

My website is confused by the mix.

I’d much rather say ‘mix’ than dichotomy. Or paradox. Or irony. I’ve noticed most of the English words involving explanation, rational thinking, and turning things into concepts all have Greek or Latin roots. And yet, no one could say that Chaucer didn’t explain, wasn’t rational, could not write to the idea of something. It’s what I like so much about his Middle English.

Plus, sometimes instead of saying the word “knife,” I prefer to say the word ka-neef.

The “About Page” is weird to me. If I didn’t already know a little about you how would I have known to go to your website? Isn’t what little I knew enough to know? I read your book. I listened to your interview with Michelle Martin. I re-Tweeted your Tweet about coming of age in the Nineties. It was a magical time.

The only person laughing in a crowded movie theater, that’s me. All my life I’ve wanted three or four other people to laugh along with me, to ‘get’ the scene or the joke or the terror in a strange aware-but-not-aware way like myself.

A website is my version of the old joke, all of us struggling to be unique, all of us wearing the same brand of shoes cobbled by the same Chausseur.