It was Superbowl Sunday and I was fucking Supbowl-sick of abstaining from my vices. Sick of refraining from kowtowing to the nearest bowl of wings. Sick of not being able to come home after work and crack open a brewsky sliding into the morning writing jam a cold beer to accompany me. Sick of always pissing one day to the next. Sick of busting my ass and always careening out of control. Sick of always living paycheck to paycheck while watching a third of my take home funds evaporate into the swishing vortex arrears of college loans (note: to all you yuppie parents out there who think you are still cool: start a college fund for your kids. Even if its just a couple hundred a year. It will change their lives and they will thank you someday).Sick of not becoming the writer I know I am capable of being. Fuck, Mozart died when he was 36. So did Rick Baker The difference being that Mozart was likely Syphilitic and Baker was pure Southside.
When you are a writer you write about everything. You constantly push the sociological barometer in an endeavor to chauffer your readers into viewing the periphery of this planet from a different plateau. A different cosmological tumbling parallax. A poetic purlieu. If yer a writer your only job is to take someone you have never met somewhere they I have never been before, or never travelled gladly and beyond.
My flippant comment made a few people laugh esp. a writer from LA whose work I’ve admired for a long time. Then someone complains, spent ten minutes going out of their way to inform facebook that they were offended and I get flagged. I want to talk about the Constitution. I want to talk about freedom of specch. I want to say that I’ve seen pornography on facebook the last of months, actual pictures of vaginas and those guys are never flagged. I want to ask whoever felt compelled to knock me down (note: you didn’t) why the fuck you didn’t just have the courtesy to write me a note conveying to me you were offended. Chances are good I would have just taken it down. Or you could have blocked me if you don’t like what I have to say. I try to write at least 10,000 words a week, which factors into over a quarter of a million words a year which is a lot, about the size of an Infinite Jest with half the footnotes deleted (they were buggin’ me anyway).
Or at least you could have the courtesy to buy me a beer like gentlemen before you discreetly chose to joust. Now it’s just pathetic because my ire is up and there is pizza in front of me and Italian beef and a bar so close if I stood on the roof above my front porch and adroitly aimed I could hit it via urinating.
Now I’m pissed. But what do you do. You realize that you’re not writing for them. That there is a reader out there who is deeply lonely and romantically wounded and hurting and dealing with some pretty gnarly existential shit and that something you wrote, flippantly, about an ailing genius and a warped sexual allegation or a millionaire who choses to deal with his demons by pricking a hypodermic stalactite into his arm, will somehow give that person who feels that her life has no purpose a moment of hope.
A linguistic hug.
I once wrote that writing fiction is a lot getting drunk off the draught of the keyboard (Home Row Happy Hour) and then squeezing your heart into an empty gin bottle and hurling it as far as you possibly can into an ocean of unknown variables. You don’t know what sort of current your script will get caught in; how large the tidal wave will be. You have no clue how many seasons your heart will spend bobbing up and down, succumbing to the sloshes of nature, the indifference of mankind, the boiled insouciance of an accelerated society whose paws have more and more freely adapted to the rectangular scepter of the remote control and less and less to the tattered lapels of a book jacket. You have no clue what foreign shore will be privy to your psychedelic scribbles or if your heart will even wash up in the hands of an appreciable audience at all. I still think that way to an extent.
I’m not trying to bash Eggers or Foer. Obviously they have an audience and an industry buttressing their aesthetics and obviously they are talented and good at their craft. Writing takes time. Unlike a music, the engagement of a narrative structure lasts longer than five minutes or an artist, a book somehow sticks around longer, looks at you longer, scowls and pricks and scratches at the interior of your psyche longer. Like the light from those constellations, the authors I love and go back to again and again always sparks a fresh response in my nervous system and looking at the books flooding my shelf, from Gogol to Patrick White to Flaubert to Beaumarchais, somehow every time I grope the spine of these texts their light seems brand new, unflawed, as if it has taken millions of years to experience this splash of synaptic bliss all over again.