The drunk crept up on me and now I feel kind of woozy and hot. I want to get up and have some coffee and write about nothing, but instead I’m under a too thick comforter, my wife asleep on my arm and one of my cats asleep on my leg. And the world outside continues. And I’m tapping on my phone again, writing nothing. Would be a good time to listen to a crumbcast.
Good afternoon denizens of Earth! Good afternoon you crazy bastards!
Proverbs says that he who rises early in the morning and blesses his friend loudly will count it a curse upon himself, so I have risen early in the afternoon and blessed you fuckers loudly in order to avoid that fate.
Yes, here we are, the 50th day of the year and what the fuck is happening to it all?
I spent the morning calling my grandfather, who is really happy for me, but would be happier if I moved to California and worked at his friend’s company, and if I also was working on building an Amway business and also spending the rest of my free time at church, so it’s like he’s in love with me but also wants me to do my life completely differently, so talking on the phone with him is always enough to set me on edge. But I’m not complaining! Lord, no, not me! Some people’s grandfathers died out of cancer or got shot by Pancho Villa or Black Jack Pershing. Of course, the old “could be worse” argument hasn’t done much for me.
Then I said to myself, “Mother of fuck, Gordon K. Flanders, you tawdry universe of molecules, why don’t you just write a thousand words and be done with it!” So then I did write a thousand words, even though I didn’t want to, and it took me like an hour, and I was ready to keep writing but I stopped myself and said, “This is what’s wrong with you! Stop, you bastard, and just fucking be done with it!” So that’s what I did and then I proceeded to catch up a little bit on that old man’s book work I’ve been avoiding.
Maybe that’s the secret, I’ll just write a thousand words a day and no fucking more than that, by God!
But there are more pressing issues, folks, indeed, the time has come! Yes, well! And I will tell you all about those pressing issues! Some other time! Exclamation point!
Have a good fucking afternoon, metaphorically speaking.
Hey ya’ll I think I am done with drinking, heavily that is. I may have to wait some more to be sure, because right now I don’t even like beer that much, which is crazy because a couple days ago I couldn’t be happy eating unless I was also having a beer. Today I decided that my good mood/feeling of detachment that I experienced two weeks ago did not in fact have to do with alcohol. So based on that I decided to have a whiskey on the rocks. I only drank half of it! I’ve never returned liquor before, and I would never have believed I would not finish a drink for which I had already paid.
There is still a good chance it will pass, but for now, just saying, I might not be an alcoholic after all.
What will I give up on next? I was hesitant to post this because it’s kind of inane and boring, but then I thought, what am I blogging for if not to keep track of how I felt from day to day? So I wanted to record the fact that I thought on this day that I might be out of love with drinking. Gives me chills just writing that. Chills is an exaggeration of the feeling I just had, but it’s in that family.
I was hanging out with some professors today, old guys, and I was thinking shit I should be a professor. I was looking over these notes I took on a talk by David Brooks, author of The Social Animal and longtime New York Times columnist, and I read that he had said we learn from people we love, and that it’s all about the relationship between student and teacher, and I was thinking that reminded me of what I was saying about maybe you can only really learn things from people you like.
Alright well. Good fucking night, and I mean that in the most literal sense.
Tomorrow I am leaving for the Hudson Valley and Vermont. Today I got my suitcase from my storage space in East New York and brought it back and stuffed it full of heavy clothes. I did some other stuff, too.
I just finished reading three books (Tess of the d’Urbervilles, The Ghostwriter by Philip Roth, and Better Than Sex by Hunter Thompson). I may have read The Ghostwriter too fast but I’m not in the mood for picking apart a tiny novel loaded with literary allusions and stylistic nuance. I don’t know why my book guy at work decided now was a good time for Philip Roth. Next on the list in that vein is Portnoy’s Complaint. Then Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon. I’m still a hundred pages out on Anxious Decades, the book about America from the 20s to the 40s. Tess was good but the ending was necessarily depressing.
I don’t remember a time when I was reading as often as I am now, except maybe elementary school. I think reading has gotten me out of my own head and that is always good for my mental well-being, although, like the famous writer character in The Ghostwriter, I’m loathe to do anything that might compromise my writing potential. What I’m learning is that state of boredom and depression doesn’t produce good writing, it just produces hours of time to think about writing something good.
Today I went to the gym and ran a mile in six minutes fifteen seconds. My best time ever was five minutes thirty eight seconds when I was on the track team in high school. I’m ten years older now, so I figure that’s pretty good. My goal is to go to the gym five times a month every month of this year. I am starting to feel more energetic as of a couple of days ago. People always told me that exercising makes you have more energy, but I would exercise and then go to sleep. I did that today, in fact. Yesterday I was thinking to myself, You know what I don’t do anymore? Fall asleep when I am trying to write. Sweet! and then today I came home and tried to finish reading a book and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. That used to happen to me all the time. I used to think I had narcolepsy or some shit. But anyway, yeah I never noticed an increase in energy after working out, but I think what they didn’t tell me or perhaps what I didn’t hear is that it comes on slowly and seems to be unrelated to when you actually work out. Or maybe these past few days I’ve been feeling more energetic because I am reading more. I don’t know. Today I didn’t feel as energetic as I did yesterday.
Still not dreading, which is good but weird and almost weird enough to make me start dreading the day when I will dread things again. It reminds me of this post by The Babe about not trusting a good mood. However, I’m out of the reach of those thoughts right now, somehow, so as I type this I don’t actually have those feelings of paranoia, but I do remember them enough to question why I don’t have them. It’s as if I’m living on a higher plane. Throughout this post I have tried to throw in a fuck or god damn but they haven’t been fitting in. Too emotional for the rarefied air here.
I haven’t been writing any fiction, but I have had some insights into a method that might work for me. I like to type fast and I don’t like to look at what I’ve written unless it’s a completed thing. I like editing, but then I usually don’t like what’s left after I cut up what I wrote. It’s like a tortured building. It was a drawing of a building, but then I built it and realized it wasn’t a good building, so I hammered on parts and added other parts on, and the added parts are all glittering and out of place, and then I gild that shit somehow and then sand the whole thing down. If I liked editing, I would go back and delete that whole weird metaphor. So anyway, I think a lot of my writing is thinking. Not the idle kind of thinking I do constantly, but focused thinking. Like sitting the fuck down and forcing myself to think of the same thing for me than five minutes. There, I got a fuck in at least.
The emotion is coming back now that I’ve had a beer, or half of one, which is as good as a whole one I guess since I haven’t had one since Sunday and even then it was only one. However I refuse to entertain the thought that my increase in energy and my decrease in dread is because I’m drinking less. No, it must be something more complicated.
Anyway, I’m going to Vermont for a week soon, and I intend to bring nothing to do there, save perhaps one good, long ass book, but I’m debating even that. I must have learned nothing if I think that I can go there and just write for the whole week. If I don’t bring a book I’ll just sit drooling on myself in an armchair until I decide to go to a movie. Oh I forgot to mention that my wife will be away at class for almost the whole time, so that’s why I will have plenty of time to drool on myself.
Someday these last few months will coalesce into one memory of a time when I woke up and made coffee and my wife was always worried about her school and I read a hundred books and I bided my time at work until I could ask for the good shifts. I hope I will remember this time fondly, but I hope I won’t remember it like I do the winter of 2013: fondly, but looking with pity at a young man on a course towards his own (temporary) ruin. Just so I’m not being annoyingly cryptic, I’m referencing here that time I quit my job, went back to it, and then drank enough to get fired.
Maybe I’ll look back on these days as the time when I wrestled emotions, doubts, depression, paranoia, narcissism and nihilism to the ground, shackled and chained them to a ramshackle sled made of raw will and rode that bitch to glory.
I picked up a shift today at work to try and stanch the gray green blood from flowing out of my bank account. How do you feel about that word stanch? “Stanch the bleeding” is the cliche.
Tomorrow is my day off, but I guess if someone offered I’d pick that up, too.
I am not writing so I am back in blissful do whatever anything mode. I am still thinking like a writer, though, and recording shit I see on the subways, so, somewhere in between.
I am working a lot on this man’s book, seeming to get nowhere. I have to learn how to create a web site so I can make this pretty complex thing for him and get paid.
I was going to write something better. I can feel my face coming through the back of my head.
So far it has been a good week. It has been terrible weather. It has been slipping and diving. I saw this kid push a full grown Dodge Charger out of the ice today by hisself because I didn’t want to help him. Well I did but then I thought the damn thing would catch some traction and back up right over his crazy ass. That’s when I was going out this morning to get milk for the coffee. We haven’t had milk in the house for four days or so, and I fucking love milk. But we were scraping the inside of the half and half container to lighten up the coffee but then today we didn’t have even enough to scrape. So I went out into the ice. And I got up mad early today at eight o’clock, mostly because my wife is having another heart attack about her paper, but not the same one this is the next one, or the next one, depending on whichever one you are thinking of. I am waiting to go to work to eat, and I’ve had two cups of weird coffee and I started doing pushups again which is probably why I am shaky and cringed up like a cactus caterpillar. That might be the first time I ever typed the word caterpillar.
Ok I’m out of here for now. January was the hot shit when taken from a cumulative standpoint, point of view. My old best friend who I used to dream he was dying in Afghanistan called me the other day and I returned his call yesterday. It was fun but that shit never ends well. We’ll be on the phone for two hours and then I’m like well I have to get to work and it’s dead silence on the other end like damn we ain’t talked in four months and now you going to leave it like this? I can’t fucking win, sometimes we talk for three hours. I think the solution is to call him like once a week, but I can’t look at a phone like that.
Today I was riding the train and the guy next to me was on page four of Walden. I still haven’t finished the book but I really liked the first half of it. I just started reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. The first chapter was one of the best things I’ve ever read. It pulled me in completely and, at first, imperceptibly. All of the sudden I really cared about this guy and his world collapsing. Really deft writing. The second and third chapters I think are also really, really good. Not as good as that first one though. Overall I think this has the potential to become a new favorite book.
Fucking A, that’s what I wanted to do today, but instead I came home and started getting worried about money again. 2015 is supposed to be the year of the dollar, and then I said fuck that and went down to four shifts, but then it snowed and now no one at all is coming in to the restaurant and we can’t make any kind of money. I’m legit going to make no money in February. I will be ok, though, by mid March I will be able to buy groceries again without having to do anything life altering. So, still in an upwards-ish trajectory financially speaking.
So anyway I’m still going to read that shit. I have to talk with this crazy man about his book thing again today at some point. What the hell else was I going to say?
Oh yeah, fucking A I watched Russell Brand on g live or something with the Guardian. I think The Babe recommended it because he looked sexy. It’s true. And also, really engaging interview, as always. I am looking for his book on sale somewhere. Maybe I will get it at the library. Otherwise I will wait until late March when I have a few duckets to spend. That’s a great interview, and so is Stephen Colbert interviewing Neil deGrasse Tyson. Did I already talk about that?
Watch that shit!
Yeah I told my brother, who believes that Thoth and Hermes Trismegistus are the same person, that shit is looking up around here. More people are talking about shit that matters and more people are questioning why society is built the way it is. I think we’ll be “having Tescos” by the end of the decade. Maybe slightly optimistic, especially with oil prices going down. That was from the interview with Russell Brand, “having Tescos.” It’s really funny, he’s saying that corporations have to run according to their charter and if we wanted we could just take them over. They’d be like, we’re not doing any of that we’ve got lawyers and money and so on and then we’d be like, “yeah well, there’s loads of us and we’re having Tescos.” Yeah so…I’m sure that recreated it pretty perfectly for you.
I was listening to Marc Maron again and I was thinking about how if you listen to someone you like you can learn things that they’re not even talking about, where if you listen to someone you don’t really care about or don’t like, they can tell you really important stuff and it might not even register. Marc Maron’s style kind of fits my thinking so when I’m listening to him, new information is presented in a way that I can integrate with my own half-thoughts and then I’ve got a new insight. Other times I listen to new podcasts I’m trying out or read certain books or whatever, and it could be really cool information but it doesn’t hit me in that way. It’s an interesting thing for a writer to think about. Maybe you and your work are the only way someone else will ever learn an important thing.
Well back to sitting around worrying or reading…or eating perhaps I will just eat until I feel better. No I will read and wait for this bastard to call me. Any second now I’ll be trapped in a harrowing phone conversation with a muttering psychopathic maniac.
I am doing something wrong, if not everything. I have been feeling happy, but now I get a free moment and somehow I messed it up. I went to the gym after work and ran and tried to think of what I would write and then I tried to just focus on the moment and then I left the gym and got on the subway and wrote in my little notebook. I got home and took a shower and ate a bowl of cereal and then I put the laptop on the table and tried to write something and I have been standing here for almost two hours now. This is what I’ve written. How can I know when I will be in the zone at writing? How come I can’t write every day? God damn it. And what’s worse, is that I’m trapped. I have to write. I tried to look at jobs the other day that I could do and I just thought, fuck I’d rather be a waiter the rest of my life then have to get one of these jobs, not that anyone would give me any of these jobs. And writing is the only thing I want to do. But then I get home and I can write, but nothing comes to mind to write so I just write that nothing is coming to mind and I do that for a long time and still end up nowhere. I can’t have all these days off if I’m just going to screw them up anyway. I’ve been standing here wanting a beer for almost two hours, too, but I know once I have the beer that’s it, no writing. But I guess that would have been the result either way. Damn this shit is tough.
I started carrying around a notebook again because I am in observer/writer mode all of the sudden. The last time I felt like this was sometime in the winter of 2013, and that was when I bought the notebook on a trip from Boston to Brooklyn. In it I recorded some shit that went down on that trip, and some shit that happened that weekend. And then that was pretty much it for that notebook, save for some wine tasting notes and some cocktail recipes and a few scattered coffee shop musings.
Man that shit was pretty good! I was just writing shit that meant something to me, really. I don’t know if it would actually be good if I were to put it up here, I just think it calls to mind those times really well for me. Little scenes about waiting for the bus and shit, back when I worked at that restaurant where I eventually got fired because I didn’t appreciate what I had. I won’t make that mistake again unless I get Alzheimer’s. But that’s beside the point. I hope I’m able to capture the essence of this moment in time in that same notebook now, if not for others at least for myself.
I read today in the New York Times that writing about yourself and trying to figure it out has been scientifically proven to make you happier. Based on that I should be happy as a mother fucker.
Last night I had my first slice of dollar pizza from some greasy ass Lower East Side joint around midnight. I was on my way to Tiki Monday at Pouring Ribbons, a little cocktail bar on Avenue B. Over the weekend I saw the first broadway show I’ve seen since moving here. And I rode in my first Uber truck from one bar to the next. I also visited my first unmarked door bar, led there by one of the guys that work there. It was the first night in New York City that I went out alone. My old bar tending friend was in town from Boston just for the night, so I made an exception to my no going out ever policy. It was fun and I somehow managed to avoid smoking a cigarette, even though the one guy had them. And everything was practically free. It really couldn’t have gone better.
My dad asked me while he was here why I was living in the city anyway, since it was so crazy here. I figured out that I just wanted to have done a bunch of stuff. I said that stuff might not be fun while you’re doing it, but remembering it later will be fun.
I’m only going to be working four days a week now since we hired some new people and some other factors. So I am going to have to really start moving in some kind of positive direction career-wise.
I tried to spend today working on this book project, but I am demoralized as I don’t know what the next step is and the client continues to ask infuriating questions.