Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

I am ashamed

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I am ashamed that the police officer who lynched Eric Garner was not indicted. I am ashamed that Eric Garner’s life was not valued by the state who murdered him, by the police officers who mob-lynched him, by this sham democracy we call the U.S. that colludes with paramilitary “enforcement” to strip black Americans of their human rights. I am ashamed that this family must put a price tag on the life of their husband and son. I am offended and ashamed that we must all contribute to the collective damage we have done and the collective violence we have inflicted on our black brothers and sisters. I am just plain ashamed. ‪#‎blacklivesmatter‬

Filed under: writing

This is 43

Teaching an ethics class to Prep for Prep undergraduates at NYU. June 19, 2015.

Teaching an ethics class to Prep for Prep undergraduates at NYU. June 19, 2015.

I am of an age where I have to explain to my first-year college students who Elian Gonzalez is and his significance (how, at a tender age, he represented our post-cold war anxiety, our xenophobia, our resistance to immigration and migration), where my Facebook feeds contain more photos of my middle-aged friends’ kids’ last day of Kindergarten than of our former boozy late nights, and where I learn, to my surprise, that Larry Clark’s “Kids” is twenty years old. My knees hurt, I go to sleep at 9, wake in the middle of the night, and worry incessantly about my mother’s failing health. All in the midst of slogging through the daily rituals of the paycheck, the rent payment, and perhaps eating a salad once in a while.

I shared a photo of me and Guy on the High Line the other day. One of my mentees wrote, “I swear y’all are aging younger.” Though this initially made me smile, I felt conflicted: Am I really middle aged? How did I get here?

Returning to grad school has put it all into perspective. Where I previously had existential worry, I am now occupied by my studies; where I used to lament my lack of ambition I now lament my lack of free time. This dissertation, after all, ain’t gonna write itself.

Filed under: writing

Big Little


A tender, instructive lesson in showing and telling for all us writers from Jill McCorkle, a former teacher and mentor. Beautiful.

Originally posted on From the Vortex: A Faculty Blog:

by Jill McCorkle

When my son was eight, he went through a period of time where he was obsessed with death. He referred to it as “my fear” and often had trouble sleeping. My father had died just before Rob turned two and so his memories of that time would have been very limited. However, with the desire for my children to know who my father was, I talked about him often and told stories about their interactions with him. I told Rob how I couldn’t keep him away from the hospital bed in my parents’ bedroom. If there was a chair beside the bed, he managed to climb up on it and try to pull himself over the bar. Numerous times I caught him babbling away and patting my dad the way he might’ve the head of a dog and once I found him all the way in the…

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Filed under: writing

A Return

LispectorI’m not sure if it’s abandonment or neglect: I have not maintained this blog. It’s a funny thing, when and how we’re motivated to revisit things of the past. There was a time that I was extremely active here (I estimate in 2010, maybe, as I was nearing the end of my tenure teaching at Boston College, and fairly laissez-faire about my daily affairs and purpose). I found myself, then, posting my thoughts freely, sharing the particular nooks and crannies of my days, seeking solace where solace could be found in virtual, real time publishing. After I moved to New York this impulse to connect dissipated.

Perhaps it’s that enough time has passed, people come and gone, work life and daily life less crowded with diversions and preoccupations, that I am now desirous of this form. Blogging simply feels more substantial than Facebook. Think it, write it, publish it. Bam! Surely, Facebook has only contribute to my short attention span, fragmented thinking: FB posts have served as a poor cousin to the intermediary work of blogging, which strikes me as half-writing and half-entertaining. It may be that after three years in New York and the beginning of yet another stage of my life, I’m ready to return.

One closing thought, from Clarice Lispector, individualist and iconoclast. I’m reading her last book now, “A Hora de Estrela.” A real writer’s writer:

“My truest life is unrecognizable, extremely interior and there is not a single word to describe it. My heart has emptied itself of every desire and and been reduced to its own final or primary beat.”

Filed under: media, technology, writing

Snoop and Martha: “So Much, So Much”

I’m reposting this video from 2008 because it makes me laugh. Also, because I’m procrastinating from my writing work.

This could be the most hilarious thing I’ve seen. Snoop Dog making mashed potatoes with Martha Stewart. Ostensibly selling his new album with a song called, “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto.”

My favorite part is Snoop’s reaction to the white pepper.

Filed under: writing, , , ,



» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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