Correspondence: 22.04.16

from: Gordon Flanders
to: Babe
date: Friday, April 22, 2016 at 1:04 PM
subject: rot and recreation

My sister-in-law may be behind me as I type, is behind me, but may get closer and close enough to read what I am writing because one of the cat’s opened the door and I am wearing headphones. I am listless. I know no bounds except the ones I deduce based on learned constraints. Behind. Front. Inside.

The passages you sent to me last week are magnificent. I like the way the Hemingway one speaks and I like what the Ferrante one says. Especially the part with the emotional implosion. I am trying to be at peace with making a spectacle of myself. Why not? Let the happy be calm. I won’t try to emulate them for now. One day I will regain a state of yin, to borrow a word that I don’t understand.

I am reading a few books as well, though finishing seems like a remote prospect. But that’s the nature of time, isn’t it, and the nature of me, not to see the pattern. I am reading a book called Blessed about the history of the prosperity movement in American Christianity. It’s helpful in understanding many of the cultural forces that shaped my childhood, among other things. I am reading a book about information warfare called Dark Territory: The Secret History of the Cyber War. It’s by Fred Kaplan. It’s a lot of facts and such like that. I am still reading Imajica by Clive Barker which is a fantastic story recommended to me by the artist at Accidental Tentacles.

I loved reading your short story, slumming. I love gesturing to the loo and then making a snappy exit, especially when there are catered drinks.

I am pleased with the writing I’ve done since I wrote you last. I have some gray hair and I can feel the demons meeting for a quiet tea after a long night. We’ve followed your example and closed the curtains; we’ve shut out the diseased spring. And yet, of course, the spring and I have an animated past which we neither of us can manage to forget.

Be good, but don’t tell anyone you’re doing it. You won’t. But anyway.

-G

correspondence 15.04.16

Correspondence: 03.31.16

from: Gordon Flanders <gordonflanders@email.com>
to: Babe <listentothebabe@email.com>
date: Thur, Mar 31, 2016 at 6:07 PM
subject: thanks for poetry

Hey

Thank you for the Bukowski poem. I am glad you finally got your secret weapon. I hope you use it for all it’s worth as often as possible, and not just on special moonlit Tuesday’s.

But there is something about a moonlit Tuesday, isn’t there? Yes I know just what you mean. It’s hard to wait for the right moment, but it’s the waiting that makes the moment right. 

Does it take madness to write? It takes madness, yes. In a world like this, madness is the cause and the result. Until the whole world is mad, the writer will find work. To create or to find peace? Try peace first to see if it suits you. You can always return to the maelstrom.

I hope the accupuncture continues to relieve you of your merciless tormentor, and like I always say, never trust a man with a thousand tiny needles unless you know for sure that his homeland has been razed from the map. They don’t make them anywhere else.

I am going back to work now. Give my love to everything you see today.

Best

-G

http://listentothebabe.com/2016/03/24/correspondence-24-3-2016/

Fred Colton Said What I Was Just Thinking and Now I Feel Better About Myself and Therefore Can Enjoy Life a Little More Than Usual for the Next Five Minutes Barring a Manifestation of the Wrath of God in the Form of a Seemingly Random Tragedy

 Here’s the link:

http://conceitedcrusade.com/2016/03/15/reload-to-continue/

Check it out. I was going to comment, but I had too much to say, so I’m pulling a Seth Godin move and I’m going to respond on my own blog.

Colton complains that he has nothing new to say and yet he still has to post, so maybe he’ll just talk about what he’s doing right now. Ha! That’s what I do almost every single damn time. I don’t even know why I feel compelled to write shit since I recently proved that I can forget all about commitments to other people real fast. Probably because proving I’m a genius in a world where no one has to listen to you is really tough and if you’re writing something on a blog and people see it every day you can at least fool yourself into thinking that you are proving something.

Colton listens to podcasts by millionaires?! I listen to podcast by millionaires! But I don’t know anyone else who does. One time I listened to Robert Kiyosaki’s podcast. He wrote a bunch of financial education books that I read as a ten year old. Or maybe I was fifteen. Anyway, obviously I didn’t pay attention. Kiyosaki’s podcast is ludicrous! I’m speaking from a place where I’ve listened to one hour long episode, but it was out of fucking control. But you know what, I’ll probably listen to that shit again because, even though Robert Kiyosaki and his bought and paid for friends are as obnoxious as a koala bear who hangs around after you’re done cuddling it and using it to attract sexual partners, that cocky mother fucker is rich as hell! For white nihilistic narcissists there really is no alternative to having a shit ton of disposable income. Sorry, idealistic side of Gordon Flanders. You lose!

I listen to those podcasts to make myself feel like I am accomplishing shit, as opposed to actually accomplishing anything ever, because I don’t know if you tried it but accomplishing something or even talking to someone face to face about accomplishing something is hard.

Everyone is better than me, I am better than everyone else. Totes! Hell yeah I said totes, it’s apparently 2010.

Ha! Colton talks about writing fiction and how it repels blog readers. I don’t know if it’s true all the time, as I don’t have enough traffic to really do any analysis, but god damn! That shit makes perfect sense. Because who’s reading blogs? Writers, that’s who! Why are we all here? Because we want some mother fucking readers to pay us a shit ton so we can continue to write every time we stop drinking. Ok, maybe not all of us. Some of us have simple enough desires not to need more money and some of us are super genius scientists who just enjoy writing and others…well fuck it nevermind. Me and Fred need to be paid. Yeah and so we get on a platform for writers and we think, I’ll write a story so everyone will buy my other story and then other writers are like, I’m sure that’s a great story dude but I’m trying to be productive over here so I need to read blog posts about how to fucking WRITE. Fuck your story. Probably didn’t spend more than ten minutes on that shit anyway.

Colton says he’s sick of rebooting himself and trying new things. Jesus Goddamn Christ when are we going to be the right person already? I don’t fucking know. I’m in the middle of a reboot my damn self. This is day 21. Did you see how many blog posts I put up last week? That’s like my output for a month. Why? Because god damn I’m sick of living with myself! Sometimes I think, just go with the “natural mold,” just really love yourself, you know? And then I lay in bed all day loving myself and then I remember I have student loans to pay and also why don’t I care about the poor and opressed and also why was I born anyway and how come the universe makes perfect sense to Carl Sagan and also why do so many people pretend to be happy in public god damn I hate those fucks. Fuck all that it’s day 21 mother fuckers and I ain’t gonna fuck it up today god damn it.

I’m going to stop there because I could just keep writing all day about this but I want to keep this blog post to a readable length for any potential people who read shit who are looking for a new person to read shit from and found their way here and are now thinking, man if this guy keeps this post brief I’m totally going to become one of his thousand true fans.

And while we’re on the dick sucking train, let me tell you about my favorite podcast, The Crumbcast. There are eleven episodes and somewhere in the beginning of February the creator, Tony Single, wrote a blog post saying everyone should check them out. That’s great, check them out, but if you’ve already done that, why not sign my petition to stop Tony Single’s brutal austerity measures? Together we can destroy Single’s artificial bottleneck and allow the supply of Crumbcasts to reach sustainable levels: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/moar-crumbcasts.

Haters gonna hate!

Correspondence: 11.03.2016

from: Gordon Flanders <gordonflanders@email.com>
to: Babe <listentothebabe@email.com>
date: Fri, Mar 11, 2016 at 2:07 PM
subject: light in the eyes

Has it been three months? From now on I’m treating time like an animal skin. I’m going to stretch it tight over a dark hole and I’m going to pin it down with giant crucifixion-grade spikes.

A headache narrative might be worth no more than a dime, but that metaphor with the teapots and the tea bags is pure gold.

I’m trying to respond to your last letter but it’s been so long that you’ve probably moved on to new questions. Do you still find that the pain is speaking through you? Are you writing for yourself now that you have taken a break from blogging? Are you working on your novel?

I’ve been writing fiction every day for fifteen minutes for the last two weeks. It’s hard to do every day because some days I spend every waking hour at the restaurant, but I can always find fifteen minutes somewhere, on the train if necessary.

Yesterday, I actually finished an eleven thousand first draft of a fictional story, so today I started a new one. I start a lot of things. I just want to finish one thing.

The story is terrible in one sense, but then again I’ve stopped caring about that. I have been learning math these last few months and I got to thinking about literature as a whole. Sometimes I censor myself because I think that if I’m not writing something new and unique, there’s no point in writing it. But I realized that writing and reading fiction are worthwhile pursuits that don’t need to be connected to some larger field or discipline.

For instance, one might write down all humanity has learned about math in ten or twenty large volumes, but the distillation of literature cannot be written in words or drawn in diagrams.

I’m still working that out.

Today I am a robot built from lead with antique hinges for joints. I have turned my back on my heart and drowned out it’s weird shouting with breakup music and public radio podcasts. Apart from that incident with the train a few days ago, things are going well. But I find myself less able to write a good letter.

All the best,

-G

http://listentothebabe.com/2015/12/22/correspondence-22-12-2015/

Correspondence: 16.12.2015

from: Gordon Flanders <gordonflanders@email.com>
to: Babe <listentothebabe@email.com>
date: Wed, Dec 16, 2015 at 11:07 AM
subject: sympathy pains

Has it been two weeks? Did we agree on once a week? I’m sorry but I’m sure you don’t mind. Really there’s no point in stabbing the river of time with red pins and hoping it will behave.

I had a dream about you. I woke up sweating and scared, but not because I drowned in the end.

On a different night than that one, I woke up after drinking spiced rum and had a terrible headache. I don’t drink spiced rum, I don’t get headaches and I have a low tolerance for physical pain. I lay there believing I would die, like the first time I smoked pot. I thought of you, and wondered how you were able to get anything done at all. After two glasses of Alka-Seltzer and twenty minutes of wishing I had morphine or Vicodine, the headache suddenly disappeared. I felt high, then, and I thought: have I been living like this the whole time? In a state of comparative euphoria?

I can’t believe you read aloud, or had someone read aloud, your last letter. I tried to listen to a similar link under one of your poems, but it didn’t work for me. You are like a phantom now. I hear your voice speaking your thoughts, but I don’t see you. I am afraid to record my voice and afraid to hear what I’ve written read out loud. I am not afraid of ghosts.

I have written nothing. I have read nothing. I work and work. Work is the best, and a certain numbness, a merciful numbness, said DH Lawrence. I stopped reading Thoreau. No time for that, not even on the train, where I have to think about things that I am forgetting. I’ve had Ham on Rye on my desk for three months. I thought having it nearby would facilitate the process of ingesting it. Maybe it has been six months. At least its yellow and blue cover match the white and brown desk.

I realized in a dream that the funniest people exist over an ocean of sadness. The dream was so strange, because I was doing normal things, and there was nothing bizarre about it. I was standing near my couch, feeling like I should die. I think in my dream I had the day off, which was nice for a change, or was it? I was feeling so sad and I thought it was stupid to do, but then I realized that the price of greatness was to be forever floating on a sea of something horrid and gut-wrenching, whether it be sadness, self-loathing, hatred, whatever. I suppose some great artists can sing from a garden of love. I suppose I am wrong. But what I realized in the dream was that if this was the cost of creating great art, I should instead write funny stories about one dimensional people. I should do anything rather than swim in that darkness. I should do anything rather than be this person.

If I am close to assimilating the darkness below, I am also more keenly aware that I, and you, are but matches struck and tossed into the gutter. If I speak of abysses below or above, of mastering or surrendering, perhaps I would do better to shut up and experience my moment.

All the best, forever and ever,

-G

http://listentothebabe.com/2015/12/04/correspondence-04-12-2015/

Keeping Up

from: Gordon Flanders <gordonflanders@email.com>
to: Babe <listentothebabe@email.com>
date: Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 12:51 PM
subject: what in christ

I’ve been reading Thoreau again so you know what that means. I’ve been sleeping more and working at the restaurant more. I finally learned that the two must coincide. I used to try to push past the sleepiness and just write.

I also started reading Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and I hardly understand any of it. I have to look up about twenty percent of the words. Hemingway said it was hard enough writing stories without having to explain them, and that a writer shouldn’t have to guide another writer through the more difficult terrain of their work. I better figure something out about writing.

I wrote a story for my sister. I borrowed this book called Vivid and Continuous by John McNally. I’m trying to push down my pride and do writing exercises. One of the exercises is to write a story for someone you wouldn’t normally write for, and so I wrote a childish story about a girl who wants a horse but gets a rabbit, and how the rabbit outlives the girl’s fancy, and then dies, sadly looking at my sister and wishing it was enough. It is a terribly sad and childish story. I wrote it by hand.

I want to cry now.

-G

I Used the Word Dithyramb In a Post and All You Care About Is This Crazy Chick Who Lives in Asia

This post is an interview with the unnamed creator of Listen to the Babe. I wrote a thousand word intro to this interview which dealt mostly with how charismatic I am. I cut it, but trust me, I am still charismatic as fuck. Satisfy your need for proof of that with these masterpiece ass blog archives right here.

Did I really have to meet she-who-will-not-be-named in order to get these answers? No. Did I travel five thousand and seven miles to do it anyway? Yes I mother fucking did.

I found her inside a lean-to made of imported bamboo; she was writhing, in the throes of an ecstatic vision. She was screaming some kind of improvised dithyramb that sounded familiar and yet not at all familiar. She had a migraine, and she told me to leave.

Unfortunately, I had to work later and there was no time for pleasantries.

But now I have a little time. Let me tell you why I’d suck the babe’s dick if she’d let me.

She writes like a crack in the brick wall that grows when you’re looking at it. It never breaks the wall it just grows weirdly and in a fractal way. You get closer and look at the crack and it grows and grows and next thing you know, you’re looking outside of it. The crack is a canyon now, see? And you just got tesseracted into a perpendicular worldview. Also you’re very small now.

If she was born in Greece in the time of Socrates she would have clawed Pythagoras’s intestines out and told everyone about the dodecahedron in a short story about the sexual preferences of aging goatherds and by now we’d all be living in peace as part of the all soul.

She strives to free her mind and be adventurous without acting like a little dickbag about it.

Stop wasting your time here and go read her blog now.

Just kidding come back! What the fuck!

You can do that later. Jesus. Alright.

These are the things she told me, when her eyes paused from rolling around and her screaming wasn’t on the verge of bringing down that ramshackle hut.

Me:
What are some of the vague ideas/themes you are trying to convey in your writing?

Her:
I don’t really think about themes. But I suppose if you forced me to, I’d say much of my writing is about pain, how we get cut up and hung out to dry, and how we survive it. I like to capture how inevitable pain is but we tend to think it’s personal and accuse God of having it in for us. Then we wise up and see how indifferent life is, it’s not kind or malevolent, but it is beautiful. So beautiful I want to live to a hundred.

Me:
What elements of fiction would you say you are best at/which do you like doing the best?

Her:
I like creating characters. My characters tend to start out as fragments of me, but they quickly evolve until they don’t look anything like me. They are all my kids but with different fathers.

I’m careful with voice as well: the way a story is told. When I’m writing, I can’t move past the first page until I nail down the voice. It’s not always the same voice, it depends on the story I’m telling. But it’s the soundtrack to my story and it has to be there in the opening scene or the narrative will feel inauthentic.

Me:
Do you really believe you will finish a novel?

Her:
As Mulder says: I want to believe.

Me:
If you published a novel and one person said it was brilliant while no one else said anything, how qualified would that person have to be for you to be pretty okay with that?

Her:
That would be pretty dismal. I’d prefer at least a handful liked it. But if Junot Diaz rang me and said my novel was badass, I would be strutting. If you said my novel was motherfucking brilliant and you hated me for it, that would be cool too.

Me:
Are you really close to anybody?

Her:
It takes me a while to open up and trust. But I do have a few people who suffer me, friends who know me intimately and still want to hang around. I guess my best friend and lover knows me best. I’ve put him through the wringer but he seems determined to stick around.

Me:
Is this the life you imagined you’d have as a kid or is it better?

Her:
I was brought up pretty neurotic about religion that for a while I wanted to be a nun. Then I wanted to be the prophet who paved the way for the second coming. My life these days leans in the opposite direction. I’m glad to disappoint my younger self.

Me:
Are you exiled from your home state?

Her:
Self exiled. I didn’t want to die 20 miles from where I was born.

Me:
Will you go back home to visit? To live?

Her:
Visit, yes. As infrequent as I can manage. Live, never again.

Me:
Do you speak Thai?

Her:
I’m learning Thai, yes. I’ve been here in Thailand 18 months now. I moved from Hong Kong, where I lived for almost eight years. I’m a permanent resident now but I’m not sure I’ll live there again. It’s a great city, shiny on the surface but underneath people live truly inhuman lives there.

Me:
Do you like drinking in general? If yes, alone is better or with other people is better?

Her:
Yes I like to drink. With other people. I never got into drinking alone. I can happily smoke weed on my own though.

Me:
Are you into unusual sexual stuff?

Her:
I don’t think I’m particularly kinky; I would never agree to S&M, for example. But I like experimenting. I love sex. I’m fucking enthusiastic.

Me:
Do you like your family?

Her:
That’s a tough one. I love the family that I come from but on the whole I don’t like them. They’re part of the problem. The collective thinking in my family is to achieve financial security to insulate ourselves from all risks. They don’t bother with the poor and the planet, which makes no sense when you think about it. But that’s typical short-term thinking and very few people think beyond their lives or the next generation.

Me:
Have you experienced a lot of tragic shit?

Her:
Yes.

Me:
What would you do if you didn’t have to do anything?

Her:
I would write. Oh, wait, I’m already writing. Well, I’d just write the whole day, travel and run. I won’t bother with part-time work and needless socialising.

Me:
What’s your favorite book and why?

Her:
I can never answer this question. I almost hate getting asked this. There are too many to choose from. But I can tell you that Junot Diaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao rocked my world. I read it and thought, fuck, I can come up with something like this. That’s when I committed to writing the novel, and writing for the rest of my life.

Me:
Favorite movie?

Her:
Contact. I loved its protagonist, Ellie Arroway. She’s romantic and stubborn. I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of life on other planets. Proving the existence of extraterrestrials means we have to rethink our perspective on God and life.

Me:
Favorite drink?

Her:
Margarita. I also like SangSom, Thailand’s local rum, mixed with Coke and soda. Although I’m not a big drinker these days. At 42, it takes too long to recuperate from a hangover.

Me:
The one living person in the world you’d most want to spend a day with if they were exactly how you imagined them to be or better and there was no risk that they were actually totally fucking boring/an asshole/a violent psychopath who would murder you.

Her:
The Dalai Lama. Because I think he’s on to something. I have a ton of questions. First of all, I want to know if there’s a life after death. Or does it all end with death. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and Buddhism is one philosophy backed by thousands of years of scientific research. I’d like to know what happens to the body, and if there’s a soul. I’d really like there to be a soul because I’ve worked hard on mine.

All I can say ya’ll if there is a soul, I got dibs on borrowin’ hers.

Boom. Interviewed. Read her posts on Conceited Crusade so everyone can feel a little better about life. Except possibly you, depending on how you get down.

Scratching My Balls Part 10 ^ 6

Sometimes you just need a good cry, right? That’s something people say. Have you ever done that? Sit around and wait for your Zappos order to show up all day?

Today I am off. I worked my way through a couple of chapters of Learning to Program by Steven Foote. Suddenly I couldn’t proceed. Mental capacity reached, I guess.

I don’t really mind going to work any more. I have been at my current restaurant for a year or so and it’s pretty comfortable. I can say funny things to people with uncanny regularity. I enjoy doing that.

I have been bad at blogging so far this year with only forty posts. I guess I just ran out of shit to say. I guess I’ve said that before, fuck it though, because if I can’t repeat myself I guess I won’t write any more posts this year.

I put on some pants a minute ago and showered my genitals with baby powder. When you just been sitting around scratching your balls all day shit gets real. Got to calm that shit down. I was like, “Hell yeah I’m about to go outside before I scratch through to the other side of my balls here. Jesus Christ I am fucking disgusting. Why didn’t anyone tell me to stop scratching my balls all the time when I was a kid? How do I stop this shit! Fuck! I’m totally going outside now, fuck it! I’m going to have an espresso somewhere and be mad European and I’m going to wash my fingernails.”

I put on some pants for the first time today and I put on the baby powder and now there’s a fine white over everything. I tried to create a good “while” loop in JavaScript and then I decided to just stay home and have a good cry on the old blog. God damn Zappos. I was supposed to get some Birkenstocks today. There’s a quarter sized hole in my Gap flip flops circa 2005 so I thought I would treat myself. Then the first time I ordered them everyone on the reviews was like “Watch out! Get the narrow size because these shits is wide as fuck!” So I did and of course my feets was wide as fuck so I had to send em back.

I ain’t really do any writing at all, except for my weekly posts on Conceited Crusade. My writing friend left town so I said fuck it.

What the hell am I going to do? I could go out there, I guess. Fuck it. Pretty rich for the next three days since I’m not going to pay my student loan on time. Can probably afford three dollars and now the itch is coming back with a vengeance. Hoo. Shit.

I am into this whole programming thing and think I can make good money doing it once I figure it out, I just don’t have any time frame for when I’m going to figure it out or when I’ll know that I have figured it out. I guess I’ve got to buy some tech magazines or something.

I’m pretty sure whatever social obligations I have are falling through the mother fucking cracks so to speak because I have no idea what any of them are. I don’t have time to think about it since the house is clean and I have a steady job with reasonable time off and I’m getting solid amounts of sleep at night. At the end of the day what is there to do? Should I buy a book about math and try to relearn that shit? I’ve got to come up with some kind of curriculum for myself or some shit. Even my days at work are pretty much days off since I just got to go in there make enough jokes to forget that we’re all dying and then go up and down a bunch of stairs like three hundred times.

New York City. Don’t care if I stay or if I go. Indifferent. Just got to manage this shit really, manage your expectations and plan your coming and your going. Don’t get caught in the wrong place at the right time.

Reading the New York Times and thinking I should read something more representative of something but I don’t know what. I should know things. I read an article about Joy Williams and another one by the same guy about the band Spoon. Now I’m listening to Spoon. I guess you got to waste your life in one way or another.

I got to think more positively. I got to feel like things matter and shit like that. It’s almost decorative gourd season.

I Was Going to Say Something, Then I Changed My Mind

There are so many things written about restaurant staff. A lot of things I read overplay one or two aspects of the job and are very confident that this happens in all restaurants. There are many kinds of restaurants. I don’t know where people get the bravado to generalize so conclusively.

I would like to write about waiting tables. Sometimes I think about it. There are a lot of good characters and situations. The situations are often a challenge to capture with words, however, that’s not the main reason I have so far refrained from trying. Writing about restaurants is a little like writing about a disaffected young man in that it’s already been done and overdone, sometimes successfully and sometimes poorly—mostly poorly.

I started to write a post about the restaurant where I work, but I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what servers are called in the King’s English, so I looked that up. That brought me to an article about restaurant staff and twenty-six things they know about you. And that article was very true about one kind of restaurant, or maybe even one restaurant, but it claimed to speak for all restaurants.

I don’t identify primarily as a restaurant employee, but it was annoying all the same.

And then I realized that I have to stop getting annoyed so easily and just try to have fun.