Every day that goes by without writing is a day that I fucked up
Every day that goes by without writing is a day that I fucked up. Everybody knows writers aren’t supposed to write about writers but also you’re supposed to write what you know, so “double dumbass on you!”
That’s a Star Trek reference. The Voyage Home. Captain Kirk can’t quite keep up with the vagaries of cursing in 20th-century San Francisco. It’s a hoot. My editor friends would hate that reference, and they’d loathe me pointing it out.
Pick your referent for “it.”
Some conversations you never forget. Like a writer who’s doing better than you making fun of writers who write about writing. Noted, you think. Ix-nay on the elf-referential-say iting-wray.
I think most of my education was enculturation into
THE REFERENCES THAT DON’T NEED FOOTNOTES!
20th century white music based on, that is, stolen from black music. Shakespeare, obviously. Chaucer. Dante. Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway. The Bible, mangled and misquoted. Anything anyone ever said in Greek or Latin, including but not limited to epics and graffiti, obviously. The general plot of several French novels, as well as the overall emotional content of a few Russian novels. NPR and James Beard and ramps. Monty Python. The Beatles.
The canon varies, of course, based on the coolest intellectual you knew as a child, but we all know that our intellectual selves are secretly based on a shallow middle whose jokes we are proud of understanding. References quite clear the need to actually unroll an idea, and references that don’t need footnotes, well…those are practically references that don’t need footnotes in the making.
Oh, but is there anything more boring than being an iconoclast? Does the writer imagine these enfeebled revelations touch you?
He drops out of time. Everything takes on a slate-gray tinge. Bluer than the celadon tinge of old white houses. He smiles reflexively and is a little scared.
The dryer. Why does it make that noise? A…belt? Belt. belllllt. belt. A…belt, he imagines, that is what is making that noise. Something in the lease about large appliances not responsibility of management. A…belt.
Every day that goes by without writing is a day that I fucked up. Can’t believe I…can’t believe I just kicked this gift in the chest, just left it to die somewhere in
It’s bad when something rhythmic gets happening. Then it can really get going, the mind spinning round and round the rhythm like a gun spun around the trigger guard. The mind…the mind fills in variations, inauspicious arpeggios that never terminate because they are not real, do not reference reality. It’s not composing, it’s a compulsion.
the woods outside of Paradise, MI or the Frederik Meijer Gardens. Can’t believe I put it down because of something shitty and stupid like capitalism.
Can believe it, though. Can believe it just like a soccer mom yelling in my face about having to wait 6 minutes during breakfast rush for her French toast. What kind of operation are you running here? One within this spacetime continuum.
We are stymied by the half-truths, the quarter-truths and the lies our smiles make us tell. Can I ask why you are job-searching?, I mean, o boy. I write because I can’t tell you it’s because this job has drained me of all hope and I wonder if I’m even joking about death anymore. I can’t tell you it’s because I beat my exercise ball with a shoe yesterday because this job makes me feel like my soul is trying to get out so it can go be somewhere else. I can’t tell you about the little songs I make up about people finally getting what’s coming to them.
Reason for leaving position: seeking change.
I want things to happen faster than they do. I think that’s normal. I wanted to be perfectly calm at my horrible job after a week’s worth of vacation. I wanted to get published a few times and casually become a megastar. Or more precisely: get interviewed by Terry Gross.
That is exactly how famous I ever wanted to be. I wanted to do (probably write) something that would get me noticed by whatever intern suggests guests to Terry Gross. Something with verve and probity, or admirably droll. No, I am admirably droll in my dreams, I have verve and probity in reality. The point is: the depth of my observations about humanity would no doubt move the right agent to move the right editor to move the right publisher to move me on up. No matter that I rarely write anything longer than 2000 words and almost completely gave up writing during the course of both of my last long-term relationships. I got quips! Talk to me, Terry!
That’s another piece, shit. I think about that sometimes. I hardly write shit when I’m happy, and somehow I never seem to write about the main characters in my life – at least the men. All my male characters are guest stars, bit players, ‘that one guys,’ and guys whose real-life counterparts I can often no longer trace after only a year or two. I have written concept albums about asexual flings (ok just the one concept album), but barely some sketches on the back of a white envelope (that I somehow kept) as a pointer to a four-year relationship.
Why. Why do you stand there at the corner of my vision like that? It’s not polite. And then you scurry away when I turn my head to see you. It’s not nice. You should really just go away.
Why? Are you really asking me that?
Some people you just can’t help or hurt.
That’s a lie. A lie of omission. Forgetful. I forgot the song. I did write and record a song for him. It was about how I couldn’t afford Christmas presents, so I was going to get him a cheap chessboard.
Which is exactly what I did. It’s what he said he wanted. Don’t know if he ever even opened it. It is sweet on his part that he was willing to accept this as a Christmas present. I can’t say he didn’t try. A little. Sometimes. He was tolerant and indulgent, and then he wasn’t. And then it was over.
Pissing in the snow. “I’m a Yooper!” This is an explanation.
Snow. Long warm red hair pooling in a melting drift of snow.
Snow. Long warm red hair pooling in a melting drift of snow.
Pissing in the snow. “I’m a Yooper!” Like this is an explanation.
In THERAPY I kept telling him that, to make a cake, you’ve got to break some eggs. “I can see that you think you’re very erudite,” or some such thing the therapist said. O BOY.
Quit going to see my last therapist because she kept pausing to remark on how interesting everything I said was. Sounds like a crock of shit, but. He’d believe me. I know he would. The same kind of thing would happen to him.
Those moments when you have to back away. God, you were so foolish. I’m not…I’m not getting caught up in this. Look what a tangled mess of bullshit I made pretending saying things decisively made them true. Look where you get when you make art based on the shitty, fleeting epiphany you had that day.
Because you were beautiful. God, both of you were. I guess you couldn’t spend years with someone you found repulsive. Well, actually, according to them you could. Isn’t it fun what a cascade of fear and hot rain can fall out of you when your internal gyroscope hits just the right angle?
I was supposed to be making jokes, you think. I think. What voice is this even in?
Hobby-horse infirmities. You can’t just keep repeating the same pet peeves and grievances as though the capacity to enumerate them were identical with art. When this is all over, I’m going to shake my head a few times, stretch a little and then go cook my boyfriend some sausages.
Because today is a day I wrote. So I didn’t fuck it up.