Runnin’ with the Devil: A Backstage Pass to the Wild Times, Loud Rock, and the Down and Dirty Truth Behind the Making of Van Halen, by Noel Monk

I have no real liking for 95% of Van Halen’s music and never have. So why did I read this book?

Because it’s a case study of the 20th century music industry. Noel Monk was Van Halen’s manager in their prime, between 1978 and 1985. His story delivers the nitty-gritty work of management: keeping the band going, keeping the support staff going, dealing with chaos, making sure the merchandising comes through, and, most importantly, keeping a hawk’s eye on the money. It’s all anecdotal, but it’s vibrant, funny, and involving.

Unfortunately, it’s also a case study of how Celebrity destroys character. When Monk first meets Van Halen, they’re four decadently naive L.A. party teens, eager to please. By the end, three of them are cutting the fourth, their old friend Michael Anthony, out of the band proceeds, surgery without anesthesia. We watch Eddie Van Halen, a shy guitar genius, devolve into a slurry of cocaine and vodka. Roth’s ego sprouts wings and carries him off. Alex Van Halen gets mean, honing his paranoia like a razor in a sock. Finally Monk himself is shitcanned after years of faithful service. It makes for depressing reading, and reminds one of Robert Hunter’s tenth commandment of Rock ‘N Roll: “Destroy yourself physically and morally, and insist that all true brothers do likewise as an expression of unity.” If this is what success means, no one should want it.

As of today, The Library You See In Dreams is no longer just a free sign-up blog, but a fully paid account, cash money. This upgrade was made possible by a donation from our good friend Paul Starr.

To demonstrate my appreciation, I tell you, oh reader: this post is not a post. It is a plaque. There is, right now, riveted to the surface of your laptop or mobile screen a slab, five inches by seven inches, of heavy bronze (or, if you prefer a racier appearance, brushed steel).

It reads:

Dedicated in Honor of


With Utmost Gratitude for His Generosity and Support

April 2nd, 2018

Since this is not a post, but a plaque, there is no way to link to Paul’s Glitch site, a catalog of his many literary, editorial, musical and miscellaneous creations. This is a great pity. If you ever get a chance to follow that link, you should, because it’s an extravaganza.



Easter is many things.

Easter is the day when the cosmic Christ, a thousand parsecs tall, crushed the serpent of Death beneath his heel and reclaimed all those it had held hostage.

Easter is Pascha, the second Passover, when Jesus led us out of bondage to sin and death and into a new land of life.

Easter is when the Powers that Be, who thought they had stamped out a dangerous radical movement, found it flamed back up beneath their feet.

Easter is when a group of friends, who thought the dearest among them was lost forever, found he had been given back to them.

All of these and many more. The common element is joy. May today be a day of joy for you and may it continue on through the year. Alleluia! He is Risen!



We cannot say “the good guys won World War II,” because the victors of World War II included Stalin’s Soviet Union, a regime that murdered millions of human beings and pioneered new ways of human evil in the same fashion as Nazi Germany.

The best we can say is that the forces of human freedom (or at least, the Enlightenment Package) survived the war to hold up their example against the totalitarian ideological movements spawned by the 20th century.

Which is just another data point to support the theory that World War II was the worst thing that ever happened.

The first thing you write is anything. Put a sentence together, see if another one follows. Get a paragraph. Look at what you’ve written, check if it’s want you wanted. Polish. Keep going or start over.

On March 26th, 2014, I decided that, to encourage myself to write, I would establish a writing streak, a record of how many days in a row I had managed to write, and post it publicly. Today marks the 1,460th day of that streak. Four years.

After one year, I made my first short story sale.

After two years, I sold another story and began a novel.

After three years, I was deep into the novel and cruising toward completion.

And now after four years I have left the novel, am not writing any fiction, and do not foresee myself writing fiction ever again.

Writing fiction was, for me, a broad macadam highway, along which I walked with many beloved friends. Now I have left that road and am bushwhacking cross-country, through thickets and swamps, to an unknown and perhaps nonexistent destination. I call what I’m doing “philosophy,” but that’s not really a good term. All I can say is that I’m looking for some understanding of who I am and what I’m supposed to do, here in this interval of the Unprecedented Era. I came to realize that fiction was a hindrance to my doing that. I left the novel at the side of the highway.

But I’m still writing. The streak has been a great blessing to me. Many nights I’ve groaned, wanting to sleep, but needing to create something, anything. It’s become a habit, maybe my best habit. If I ever do find what I’m looking for, it will be at least to some extent because I wrote myself there.

This is the writing for Day 1460. Tomorrow I will have to write something else.

See our king, he comes! He is king, he is rex and basileus, he is roi, tsar, konig and kaiser, he is sultan and emir, kabaka and negus, he is shah and shahenshah and padishah, he is raja and rajadhiraja and maharaja, he is tenno and taewang and huangdi, he is inca and tlatoani, he is Lord and God of all, from the photon to the galactic superclusters.

See, he comes! Riding on an ass; on a colt, the foal of an ass.