spencer madsen

How to Drop Out of College

I’m the best there is at dropping out of colleges. I’ve done it three times, from three different colleges, accumulating enough credits to land myself somewhere around a sophomore. I always started classes strong, but the semesters just last too long. Every course was a new year’s resolution I gave up on come February. I dropped out of a beautiful Hogwartsian college where I began having real sex and taking on real student loans (which, it turns out, you should probably repay). From there I moved on to the city universities of New York: first Hunter, then Brooklyn. After dropping out of both of them I got a job at a bike shop and wrote a poetry book. I published two more books by other people. I wrote a few articles. I got a paid internship and a few odd jobs. I made dropping out of college—and being a writer in New York—work.

I told her I’m sorry I’m the thing you like.
She touched my ears and poured me coffee.
We walked over to my bed and sat on it.

She told me I have a lot of beauty marks.
I said I never call them that because it’s conceited and inaccurate.

Calling them birthmarks is more appropriate because they are permanent and blameless.

She said, “There are so many on your arms.”
This morning is, I think, the last snow of the season.
Saturday is going to be sunny and almost sixty degrees.
She and I made a lot of plans.

They include: walking outside, buying a plant, going to Ikea, going to the Prospect Park with my brother’s dog, cutting my hair, baking a pie, listening to Slowdive and watching a movie.

But it happens in every friendship, and in relationships it’s even worse, that first moment where you feel it, that there’s no curiosity anymore, no feelings to share or things to do, and the park bench beneath your bodies becomes especially hard, and one of you looks at the other with eyes that are all apologies.

It’s never like how you thought it would be for as long as you thought it would.

Everyday, satisfied or not, is comprised of opportunities missed.

My forehead, marked permanently by attempts at conveying sincerity, and the way that, as a kid, I learned more complex and vulnerable ways of describing how I felt, while coming to understand that quicker and simpler descriptions are considered more polite, that these descriptions of things, real or not, don’t lead me anywhere, like the vaguest of allegories, how one thing can be compared to the identification of the thing itself, how so much that matters ceases to upon any graduation, like deepening into oneself, falling asleep at night and not being able to remember what you did that day, how getting older transforms from an accomplishment to a hushed source of guilt, how the memories you have are always wasted.

But you can write a whole book.
You can call it anything you want.
You can print it out and stare at it.
You can avoid anyone you want to.

And on TV you swear you heard the President say that headaches are the growing pains of our emotions.

But by the time you read this I will be someone older and newer.

I will be ultimate. I will be somewhere else.
Beginning to blend with TV-colored walls.
Things can only get worse.
A loving kind of silence.
You, having left, then returned.
Me, having stayed, then stayed.
Mathematics and old movies.
The deaths of centuries inside you.
A hug that only comes apart.
A book you want to pull together.
A story that dies in your hands.
Apologies and thanks.
It’ll be a new year again soon.

—  @spencermadsen, You Can Make Anything Sad.

I’ve never read Dante’s Inferno, or Don Quixote

it feels pretty bad
doing the normal thing
staying out late
waking up early
saying its nice to meet you
in crowded bars

readings by poets
who seem to have
never been
to a reading before
judging by the length
at which they read

saying its nice to meet you
both regarding the void
that follows pointing toward
conversation

in the morning
eyebrows high
eyes low

the new york times
digital subscription trial period
came to an end on thursday

it’s been a while
since discomfort
was a motivating thing

it often feels worse
when people flirt back

going through my pockets
finding things from yesterday
and learning about myself

i keep facebook open in two tabs
so it’s like you’re talking to me
twice as hard

a thing about working in retail
you get this special awareness
of the changing seasons

dismantling and reassembling
the cold weather clothing display
being a little better at it this year
because things do change
just not in the way you wish they would

a fun thing to do is to state
“that was weird”
immediately after something weird happened
timing is everything

i hope you understand this
i hope you fear getting it all wrong
i hope you feel bad all the time
like former presidents
like bankrupt dads
like failed actors

i love you like a shelf being emptied
i love you like spending money on trash bags
so that i can immediately throw them away

i love you like no one else will
because people in the future will be better at it

a good morning is one where everyone might be dead
but they’re most likely fine
which makes you feel relief
that you get to be awake
at such an uncertain moment

you will stop reading this
when i say so
ready?

stop


good job


now you fucked it up

I can’t remember what she looked like naked really

or how I felt when I was naked with her

I’m not sure how generous I was with kissing her

I could kiss her a lot now

like anytime she would do anything

I would just kiss her a whole lot

it would get sort of obnoxious after a while

but she would be a good sport at first

me just kissing her constantly

eventually her giggling

would subside to sarcasm

her face would grow bored

her eyes would unfocus and look elsewhere

each time I would kiss her

she would start to

internally evaluate

the timeliness of our relationship

she would note both of our

need-to-be-needed qualities

and question how that translates

to us dating each other

her contemplation would eventually

catch up to the present

where I would be kissing her way too much

and she would observe in a mirror behind me

that her eyes were so unfocused

her giggles so sarcastic

her face bored

and she would conclude with impenetrable logic

that she can’t substitute foggy memories

of past emotions

for a guy

who just

keeps

kissing

her a lot

-Spencer Madsen

But it happens in every friendship, and in relationships
it’s even worse, that first moment where you feel it, that
there’s no curiosity anymore, no feelings to share or
things to do, and the park bench beneath your bodies
becomes especially hard, and one of you looks at the
other with eyes that are all apologies.
It’s never like how you thought it would be for as long as
you thought it would.
Everyday, satisfied or not, is comprised of opportunities
missed.
My forehead, marked permanently by attempts at
conveying sincerity, and the way that, as a kid, I learned
more complex and vulnerable ways of describing how I
felt, while coming to understand that quicker and simpler
descriptions are considered more polite, that these
descriptions of things, real or not, don’t lead me
anywhere, like the vaguest of allegories, how one thing
can be compared to the identification of the thing itself,
how so much that matters ceases to upon any
graduation, like deepening into oneself, falling asleep at
night and not being able to remember what you did that
day, how getting older transforms from an
accomplishment to a hushed source of guilt, how the
memories you have are always wasted.
—  spencer madsen
selection of Spencer Madsen's tweets from the month of August 2012

August 30

new scientific study says life isn’t like a box of chocolates, same study notes that everyone dies

August 30

new scientific study says ‘really we’re just guessing, but there’s probably a reason to keep going, so you might as well’

August 30

new scientific study says its hard to be alive

August 26

message to my next girlfriend ‘can you plz plz plz make my life better’

.

August 25

everything good is just a thing that isn’t boring yet

.

August 24

would read a self-help book called ‘how to convince yourself that you aren’t yourself for extended periods of time with minimal drug use’

.

August 24

god i feel so bad

.

August 25

a new reality show called ‘extreme reality’ where someone sits in their room silently for 5-9 hours, eyes deadened, computer screen glowing

.

August 24

new reality show called ‘is this it’ where people do things for the first time and think ‘is this it’

.

August 24

new reality show called ‘did i brush my teeth’ in which people look vaguely confused for 1-4 seconds

.

August 24

new reality show called ‘please don’t look at me while im eating’ in which joe rogan enthusiastically tries to film people who are eating

.

August 19

new abc sitcom called ‘a young married couple that is too scared to get a divorce so they just had a kid but that didn’t help either’

.

August 19

new abc sitcom called ‘an unfunny portrayal of personal failure in a depressed economy’

.

August 19

a new dance called ‘please don’t look at me’

.

August 19

a new dance called ‘disappointed by this coffee and the rest of my past’

.

August 15

i recommend feeling confused by the phrase ‘be yourself’

.

August 15

i recommend viewing life as a massive meaningless thing that you take a small meaningless part in, entitled to nothing, deserving nothing

.

August 15

i recommend viewing love as a liability, and feeling it for someone nonetheless

.

August 15

i recommend encouraging more people to feel fucked, because its humbling and authentic

.

August 15

i recommend going into relationships knowing at least one of you will feel very hurt for a sustained period of time

.

August 15

how early is too early to begin doing nothing

.

August 15

remembered telling myself in a dream last night ‘don’t forget to look up cat people on wikipedia’

.

August 14

opened my closet and felt worried i wouldn’t fit into my old feelings

.

August 14

at the end of our relationship I calmly explained to her the ways in which shes a terrible person & now she wont talk to me

.

August 14

remembered being irrationally sad after my girlfriend told me ‘your only flaw is you’re too sensitive’

.

August 11

almost fell asleep but then everything

.

August 11

things that comfort me: mornings changing seasons, making coffee, long story collections, wordless music, the distant presence of millions

.

August 11

also something I like is feeling terrible

.

August 9

flexing my small bicep to a ghost in my room who doesn’t care

.

August 8

things I need to fall asleep: two pillows, a fan, despair

_

https://twitter.com/spencermadsen

Identifying who is a waste of your time and who isn’t is a skill that will only come with trial and error. In short, some of your friends bar-backing at a dive now will be working at a big magazine in a few months, and some of your friends bar-backing at a dive now will be bar-backing at a dive in five years. A good friend is always incredibly important to have, but if they’re just an asshole with big ideas, remember, you’re trying to graduate on time.
vimeo

Publishing Genius: A Documentary by Spencer Madsen

                Adam Robinson wakes up in a seriously Baltimore-ass apartment. Yep right next to him is a brick wall because those things are huge in Baltimore. Other cities cover up brick walls with important things nice smooth surfaces. Baltimore residents pay no mind to that window dressing. Right in the video Adam Robinson’s windows are devoid of dressings. They are naked windows exposing Adam Robinson to the cruel reality that is Baltimore outdoors at practically any time of day. Such an quiet scene is shown in sharp contrast to the night before.

                Baltimore writers are hanging out the night before doing what all writers do best: drink. Some luminaries are in the metaphorical house. Among them are Adam Robinson’s friends who applaud him for no particular reason. It must be nice to have friends randomly applaud for no reason whatever. People toast him. Sarah Jean Alexander is there too doing Sarah Jean Alexander type shit. Sarah Jean Alexander is consuming liquids, saying words, and breathing air, typical Sarah Jean Alexander. Next to Sarah Jean Alexander is a famous publisher from Brooklyn, New York. The young man is entitled Spencer Madsen and he’s about to get down to the hot Baltimore beat. 

                Of course the hot Baltimore beat is New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ one of their hits. Everybody dances. They dance poorly hence the dimly lit room. Nobody really wants to see how badly they dance. Hence alcohol releases that whole ‘shame’ factor. For those who do not drink but enjoy the company of others, they can dance in the dark knowing nobody will see them. Free of judgment the individuals dance with abandon. 

                This being a Vimeo video and not some YouTube stuff, it gets artsy. Adam Robinson is shown brushing his teeth because art. He puts together a business casual outfit in no time flat. Here one can see the true tortured spirit of Adam Robinson. Yep Adam Robinson is a writer hence the ‘writer beard’ and ‘hip glasses’. Few can pull off those two elements together. Few are Adam Robinson. In fact to date there are only two Adam Robinsons, the publisher Adam Robinson and the pirate Adam Robinson who died in a fire in 1873. 

                Unfortunately Adam Robinson loses at the most dangerous game. This is tragic. Apparently it is a good idea to face off against Adam Robinson in that most noble sport, Ping Pong or Table Tennis or whatever it is called. He accepts his loss without dignity falling into that whole downward spiral that Nine Inch Nails warned everybody about. By the end with that voicemail it is all mostly over.