Life As a Series of External Events

A few days ago these two guys I work with, one is a Shakespearean actor and the other is a cinephile, started talking about books, so I got involved. I don’t think that the conversation helped anyone. Before I knew it, I was telling them which translation of Crime and Punishment is the best and why, the actor was telling me that I was confusing Robert Heinlein with Werner Heisenberg (I wasn’t), and I think none of us are going to read what the others were suggesting. I never really talk about books out loud but I don’t think I will try again. It felt like we were masturbating in a circle in a crowded kitchen.

Today I’m going in early to take care of this health insurance bullshit. I am making lists and trying to plan things. Yesterday I was walking to work and I thought about what kind of life I really want to have. I couldn’t think of anything besides cutting down trees of course.

I tried to think about why do I even read books. Do I really read the classics because they are entertaining, or so I can tell people I’ve read them? I hope I read them because they express eternal truths, but I don’t know. I like the idea that stories tell a truth that can not be told any other way. The fact that I slogged through Les Miserables and then sped up through the ending as it got more entertaining shows that I read it for entertainment and pleasure. But then I think I should read Sparknotes so that I can understand what the characters are supposed to represent and all. But then maybe I should just go back and try to figure out that for myself. But then there are so many other books to read.

I decided again that I have a bad attitude and a tendency to complain because it’s fun. But then maybe that leads to actually feeling more miserable overall. And then I tried to think that I thought about myself too much anyway, and that’s why I was miserable. And maybe if I could just think of others or of the world as a whole or just focus on action or focus on whatever I need to focus on, then I could have a successful life.

But I already have a pretty successful life. I wake up reasonably late, I work few hours and yet still pay all my bills, I’m in good health (at least superficially), I’m married. Maybe I should just stop thinking about it. I think I have a good life when I don’t think about it. Like when I consciously put my life on hold when a friend comes over. Or when I have to work a lot and I just think of the days as already wasted so I don’t put any thought into it, or try to achieve something extra.

Maybe if I could just focus on writing as a technique driven exercise I would be happier doing it. John Gardner says most of what you write you write because you have to get this character into this room or you have to foreshadow something or you have to create some character to create this emotion in another character. Maybe if I could just focus on accomplishing some definite action while I’m writing, then I would be better at it and create more. And he says that when you write the story, your interpretation of the story must come out of you since it’s you that is writing it. So instead of trying to say whatever you want to say, just write the story and the truth that you have discovered will end up in there.

Maybe that’s like life.

Maybe if I just focus on the action of life, while being present and engaged, then whatever meaning there is won’t end up there because I thought about it half the day and thereby put myself into a narcissistic black hole, but it will be there because I did those actions. Maybe that way my life can be clean and pure, like a weathered old man in the tundra cutting down a tree.

Nine Thousand Words of a Bad Story

Holy shit I just threw down a thousand words on that story in fifteen minutes. Good ones too I think. Weird because yesterday I had all this time to do it and I just sat there writing a bad sentence every fifteen minutes until I fell asleep in my own cum and sweat and if I had any less decency it would have been piss too. But today I was like, this novel is not at all true and is very bad and stupid and I am just writing it so that I can sell it, so fuck it. I’m going to start a real short story and work my way up. And then I thought, fuck I need to fucking FINISH THE STORY because I never do so fuck it I’ll put in a thousand words just to say I finished this dumb ass premise having story and then bam! Thousand words.

These 2000 Words Aren’t Writing Themselves

Hey ya’ll I’m having trouble writing. I’m 430 words into the 2000 I wanted to get down and that shit is mostly me writing, hmm maybe that shit doesn’t happen, maybe this does.

I have this book called How to Write Like Chekhov. It’s basically a catalogue of writings from Chekhov organized under different headings and topics, pulled from letters he wrote, journal entries etc.

From a letter to his brother:

“I do not feel like writing, and besides, it is difficult to combine the desire to live with the desire to write.”

That’s a good one. Besides, is proves that even Chekhov didn’t feel like writing.

Hot damn I feel like going to sleep.

Leftover Turkey

God damn I thought my fingers were tired when I was writing that shit. I wrote about 1100 words about a ridiculous scenario involving a turtle, a tornado, and a reincarnation of Crazy Horse the Lakota warrior. And then my fingers were so cold and it felt like I could hardly move them. And then Wife got home and asks me to pick the meat off of this giant turkey she brought home from her parents. Good God, that shit was ridiculous. So she’s sitting there doing her schoolwork and I am pulling grease and overcooked meat from this skeleton and putting shit in different bowls and wiping the counter. Shit was disgusting.

Took me a god damn hour to do that. Doesn’t matter, really, because what else was I going to do, but I wanted to just sit there writing. Instead I’m jamming my fingers in nasty ass crevices and getting fresh gelatin everywhere.

But I did manage the thousand words and now I’m actually up to 6500 words, and that’s four days on the same project. My goal is to have a good looking draft by the end of the year.

As for the blog, I am getting close to my goal of 200 posts. I think I can hit 200 by the first week of December really. So I’ll shoot for 250 by the end of the year.

Damn I am hungry. Did I mention all I ate today was mashed potatoes on a defrosted sub roll? I threw some gravy on that shit to make it palatable. But I ain’t mad at that, or I wouldn’t be if we had somehow managed to eat before 10:30 PM.

Nah I’m okay.

I read some more of Anxious Decades which is about the US in the 1920s. I started reading it as research for a story based on the advice of Robert McKee, but I’ve since decided that he has no idea what he’s talking about and just wants to sell books about how to write shit without actually writing shit his damn self. That’s probably not true but that research takes a lot of time and I don’t have the stomach for time.

It’s Thanksgiving. Fuck it.

Today I am at home, well but not always, just for now, for the past couple of hours. Today was Thanksgiving until just a minute ago. I had to work at the restaurant. I’m new, so them’s the mother fucking breaks.

But I am thankful to have a job. I know the import of that shit these days. Jobs don’t grow on mother fucking trees. Especially jobs that pay this well, even though it doesn’t pay as well as that one job I had.

I wrote on that story again today, that’s three days in a row on the same story. I tried to quit because it obviously has no point, no plot, nothing to say about life. But then I thought to myself, you better finish this god damn story or what the hell is left to you?

I thought, well, I’ll write a story, and I’ll use a plot from one of my favorite books and just write it with my characters, and it’ll be terrible but at least I’ll have finished a story with a plot. As I thought of my favorite books I couldn’t even think of what the plots were. Then I realized for the millionth time, fuck it. If the characters are real, and they really are just driving around in a car, then that shit has some interesting points worth reading about.

I don’t know man fuck it. And then I wasn’t even going to blog today because I was like shit maybe I am taking too much time blogging and not enough time writing this god damned story. But fuck it man shit what the fuck do I know?

Maybe all this shit about me not knowing shit is getting old. I should know something by now god damn it.

I have not felt sad today, either. I just did shit, just walked around existing for some reason.

Well, I guess the responsible thing to do would be to go to bed now. Plenty of time for fucking around in the future, and if I die, well I don’t have to worry about finishing this god damned story any more.

I Am Lazy At Writing

Shit I just wrote this whole blog post about nothing, and then I thought to myself, wow I have gotten two hundred words into this blog post and I have said nothing worth saying.

Man shit I don’t have anything to say, I’m just trying to avoid pushing ahead on this new story I am writing. It’s a story about nothing, just people getting in a car so far. I like getting in cars and listening to music. And I like the idea of smoking cigarettes. So that is what my stories are always about, until I get tired of writing them and stop.

Ok back to work then.

God damn Daily Post fucking me up again, didn’t post my fucking response. I know if they would just post that shit I could come up with a hundred views no problem. Son of a bitch frustrating ass shit. Funny thing is I don’t even know why I want a hundred views.

I got shit I should be doing but I ain’t doing that shit. Shit that ain’t even true. I just got to write that god damn story. I like writing why don’t I want to write that shit? I don’t fucking know! Fuck!

Ok trying again. For real this time.

Who Do You Think You Are? Anton Fucking Chekhov?

I think I just had an epiphany of sorts. I read this book by Michael Chabon called Maps and Legends…ah fuck, nah that’s wrong. I did read that and it was good but it was Charles Baxter’s Burning Down the House that I was thinking of. In his book, Baxter criticizes epiphany literature wherein the story goes nowhere, the lead character realizes something and that’s the end of the story. It was a lot more clever than that of course.

But anyway back to my cliched epiphany.

The first novel that I completed…well the only one that I completed…was about a disillusioned male protagonist who gets shot for no reason at all and doesn’t really care. And then the book ends.

I didn’t try to publish the book because I was like well this shit doesn’t even go anywhere.

Then I read books about writing stories and they were like, hey does your story go nowhere? Who do you think you are? Anton fucking Chekhov? Cut that shit out and stick a dick in your ass, nobody wants to read that trash.

So I said fuck it I need to write a story.

But you know that first book was oddly suspenseful. All of my beta readers finished that shit in a day and they aren’t even big readers, certainly not fast readers. There was nothing in it to figure out, so I don’t know how it was suspenseful. I think the characters were good and people just enjoyed spending time in that world.

So I just thought to myself, what the fuck, I’ma write that shit again. Or some other shit like it.

The truth is I somehow can’t get myself to write even a short story. Ha I should post the one short story I did write the other day. It was about a little girl who gets a puppy and then two paragraphs later finds an old dog dead in the yard and she is in graduate school and hates herself and her mom and her mom hates her and the dog and the mom finds out that the dog is dead and she cries for the first time in her daughter’s life.

Man I can’t write stories that go places for shit. I think I just can’t because I don’t believe that shit. I don’t believe that everything is connected, that there is a higher power, that shit rises and falls in an interesting way. I believe life is boring as hell and miserable too. I don’t think there’s any lessons we can teach anyone else. I don’t think curiosity makes life worth living.

But oddly I do love stories. I like tight plots and stories that go places and I don’t like Sarah Orne Jewett and her intricately designed settings and characters and absolutely nothing going on. Well I guess I haven’t read her stuff in a while so maybe that’s not true any more.

I guess I might be having trouble writing stories because it’s not the truth for me. Stories are a way of expressing deeper truths. I don’t have any truth I want to express…that’s not true.

The truth I want to express is “life is meaningless and the only things worth doing are loving someone and/or looking cool while smoking cigarettes…maybe sex too.”