Checklist for Existence

I’ve tried to come up with, implement, and stick to a set of procedures in order to optimize my time and actions to achieve a perfect existence. I’ve looked back on my life and created a narrative. I’ve seen how the pieces fit, how each decision led me to the next decision, and how that single chain has led me to the present moment.

How disgusting are procedures when applied to the living of a life; how laughably insufficient is hindsight to explain even a single journey.

I’ve been searching for answers and hoping I could share them with others, but in this life, brief as autumn grass, no two paths are the same.

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.

Yo Daily Post Was No Help Today

Did I mention my goal of two hundred posts before the end of the year? That means I’ve got like fifty left, so I think I’ll just throw a few one sentence posts up here for good measure.

Man, I was at fifty views today, and then I did the daily post and it somehow got messed up because nobody’s responses were coming up. I think if it had shown up on the website, even though it was pretty bad, I can’t even remember what I said but it was short and off the cuff, if it had shown up I could have maybe gotten 75 views and I’d be three quarters to my goal of a hundred views in a day by the end of the week.

Whatever, time to diversify my visibility strategy anyway.

86 Whiskey, Sub Vodka

It is Sunday night. I just finished work and Wife has to stay up and finish her paper. So that means I get to stay up writing, too! Sweet. Plus I got a glass full of ice and vodka. Ran out of whiskey yesterday.

My new blogging goal, oh by the way I’m setting goals now mother fuckers what you know about that, is one hundred views in a day. One hundred views shit kazam blam that’s some crazy shit. I’ll be looking like the pied piper of blogging out here.

Hell yeah man but fuck all the dumb shit, a hundred views in a day by the end of this week and I’m about to hit my two hundredth post on this blog, two years in. A year and ten months anyway. I got big plans for December. I’m about to drop all kinds of dumb ass posts on this blog. I’m going to be a word generating machine.

Nah but fuck it. Earlier today I was feeling dumb as hell, just sitting in bed and staring at the computer. I was thinking to myself, shit, man, some people blog about how to write. I blog about how I don’t write. I write about pretty much the opposite shit of successful bloggers.

I get on here and write about my neurosis and and moroseness like it’s some shit to be proud of. Hell yeah that’s what I do. Fuck it.

Man but anyway, I don’t even know what to talk about these days. I never do. I’m trying to write something so I have something to market. That’s some dumb shit right there. But anyway we’re all going to die soon enough, no use pretending like we’re going somewhere important.

Playing Cars

I have worked a lot the last few days and it’s funny to me how the more I work the less I dread working. When I have days off I don’t want to go back to work, but when I work long hours all in a row, I don’t mind going to work at all. It feels more natural. I wish I could stop dreading going to work for good.

This time in my life, it’s never going to get more open than this. There may have been times in my life when I had more options than I do now, but those times will not come again and I know that I am in a time right now that I will look back on as a time when many roads were stretching out in front of me.

I remember I used to want to play cars with my sister. I don’t even know what that means any more. I have no idea how to play cars in a way that makes you sure that you are playing cars. I have no concept of what makes a person yearn to play cars with another person. She would never play cars with me and I was always upset about it. I didn’t have a brother and my dad was busy working and had probably forgotten how to play cars in a satisfactory manner as well. It seems like now the most important thing in my life in those days, I guess I was 9 or 10, was playing cars. It’s funny how you have no idea what the hell life is all about when you’re younger. Not what it’s all about, but rather, what the hell you have to do in life. Because life is probably more about playing cars than going to work, but life isn’t made up of what it’s all about.

Yeah but what I mean is I’d better take advantage of this time before I have a kid or something. Or before I break my legs or become paralyzed from some rare disease or even contract ebola. Or get strapped with some kind of financial burden that I just can’t crawl out of. Or get arthritis or non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or amnesia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Maybe if I just keep telling myself to do something I’ll be able to convince my 94 year old dying self that my life was worthwhile.

Is Everyone Miserable?

A certain amount of dreaming is good, like a narcotic in discreet doses. It lulls to sleep the fevers of the mind at labor, which are sometimes severe, and produces in the spirit a soft and fresh vapor which corrects the over-harsh contours of pure thought, fills in gaps here and there, binds together and rounds off the angles of the ideas. But too much dreaming sinks and drowns. Woe to the brain-worker who allows himself to fall entirely from thought into revery! He thinks that he can re-ascend with equal ease, and he tells himself that, after all, it is the same thing. Error!

Thought is the toil of the intelligence, revery its voluptuousness. To replace thought with revery is to confound a poison with a food.

Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

I have been reading Les Miserables and I am a little over halfway through now. It is the first book that I downloaded on my iPhone back at the beginning of August. It is 9,000 iPhone pages long.

I think I have been confusing thought and revery for a long time. I never really want to think about anything because thinking is working and I strive to avoid working.

Today I want to create a post with substance. Something that is actually useful, enlightening, or at the very least interesting.

My underlying life goal has always been financial independence. At times I have wanted exorbitant amounts of money and a enough material possessions to embarrass a shah, at other times I have wanted only enough to not be forced to do anything against my will (e.g. go to work). No matter what form it’s taken, it’s been there all along, even as far back as my earliest memories.

At the same time, I’ve always written. I was always told I was a good writer. I won contests and I enjoyed writing. I tried to write many books throughout elementary school. I always wrote more than the required amount. The first time I tried to write a book was when we were assigned to write a little story about a picture. I turned it into a novel length project about a man who travels to every country. Of course I never finished or even got close.

Currently I am in the midst of one of the best financial seasons of my life. I am earning decent money and I have nothing major to save up for (e.g. wedding, honeymoon, move). If I stay on this track, by this time next year I’ll be in the highest cotton I have ever seen.

I guess I am trying to nail down why I am not dancing with happiness all the time. I am trying to put into words a conflict between the good things in my life and the bad feeling in my head.

I read these articles once in a while about self published authors who make a lot of money and I always think, I could do that. And then I don’t do it and that makes me question whether I even care about being a writer. And then when I get lazy about even thinking, about writing anything that’s not right on the top of my head, I really question whether I like writing at all, or if I am just trying to use what people have told me I do well to accomplish my overarching life goal of financial independence.

The Hugo quote at the start of this article put this internal conflict in focus for me today. I fancy myself a thinker, but I’m really more of a dreamer, a day dreamer. I like staring out of windows. I could stare out a window for hours and hours, without thinking a god damn thing. Today Wife asked me what I was thinking while I stared out the window at all the humanity passing below us and I said I was thinking about over the counter generic drugs, and I really was. I usually say ‘nothing’ to avoid looking weird and/or boring her, but I was feeling more specific.

I remember watching the documentary Happy People. It seemed to me that the main Russian guy was living an honest life. He was working to support himself. He had no one to answer to but the elements. When I go to work as a waiter, I bow to everyone. Managers, coworkers, customers, the chef…it seems like everyone is my boss. I always think there must be a way to do the job honestly, with dignity and pride. I think there must be a way, but I don’t know what it is. I remember this guy I used to work with, he was always happy and energetic. He had huge muscles and a Mustang convertible and I never saw him take anybody’s shit. He seemed like he worked an honest job. I always wondered how he did. I’m good at my job and I take pride in it but people give me shit constantly. I’m always getting talked down to by everyone, it seems. I feel, without justification for the most part, that I am at the mercy of fools. Even people I respect, I feel like a bitch because of the way we interact. I feel like I’m being walked all over, like I’m letting myself be walked all over. Maybe it’s just my personality. Maybe I’ll never do an honest day’s work.

I remember all I wanted to do was chop down a tree with another tree, go to sleep inside a moose, wake up, and there is nothing. I have this fixation with chopping down trees. With being alone with a job to do and no measure of how well you did it besides whether or not you are alive the next day. And that thing about going to sleep inside a moose has to do with that documentary, Happy People, where they are working it’s so cold that you might have to cut a moose open and sleep inside for warmth. No one does it in the movie but I expect that it happens.

Wife is always asking me what do I want to do with my life and I usually make some reference to chopping down trees. I really like trees, by the way, I don’t know why I want to chop them down. I guess that’s the epitome of honest work for me. And for some reason I’m obsessed with honest work.

I guess it has little to do with work. I guess i hate my own personality. Hate that I’m so submissive. It’s definitely the path of least resistance, just doing whatever anyone else wants, and a lot of people certainly do like me, and I like that. But I guess at the end of the day when I’m sitting in bed thinking about my life I am unhappy with it because I am unhappy with the way I am living it.

I really like House’s personality. He likes confrontation and hates social niceties. He’s intelligent and he does meaningful work and no one tells him what to do. Everyone knows he’s an asshole and he doesn’t mind. He’s miserable I guess. He’s also not real. I really like Roger from Mad Men, too. He’s rich and old enough not to give too much of a fuck. He’s miserable, but not as miserable as House. He has sex and gets drunk and writes silly books about his life for no reason. And he’s witty and charming. I guess everyone worth knowing is miserable.

I like that part in Annie Hall when Woody Allen asks this couple on the street how they make it work and the girl says, “I have no ideas or thoughts really and I’m very shallow.” And the guy says, “And I’m exactly the same.” And that’s how I always think of people that are happy, but when I saw it in the movie I realized that that’s really not true for anybody. No one would honestly describe themselves that way, because we are all so complicated, we all contain a multitude of worlds, as Neil Gaiman says. I would say I have shallow qualities, but I wouldn’t honestly say I am a shallow person. I have always believed that shallow people exist, that some people walk around with one thing on their minds, that some people just want to sell you a car, or just want to make “that’s what she said” jokes, or just want to have the loudest laugh in the restaurant, but when I saw that scene with those people in Annie Hall for some reason it just clicked that no one is really like that. I used to know this beautiful Russian girl who never said anything that interested me, but she was so beautiful I just wanted to watch her say things, and I thought with a face like that there was no need to ever have anything to say, so why should she develop a personality? She, I thought, was shallow for sure, through no fault of her own. She went to parties and she talked to dull people and she did some modeling and she talked about her cat and I was sure she had not a whole lot going on upstairs. But I think inside her head she was probably just as interesting as anyone else. She must’ve been through a lot to come to the United States from Sakhalin Island and learn a new language and all of that. I suppose.

I guess everyone is miserable, really.