Standing Up in the Solipsism

So damn bright these days in the morning. My life is a calm and tepid puddle somewhere in the unused parking lot of a superannuated mental hospital.

If I could be excited about anything right now, I would be excited about being a part of Conceited Crusade. I was sure I’d slipped from one bizarre dream into the next when I was awoken by one of the world’s last great bloggers, the inimitable and elusive Fred Colton. I wasn’t even angry that he drank the last of the bottle of Don Papa I had been clutching in my sleep.

He wiped his mouth and tossed the bottle into the pile in the corner. “Babe says you’re OK.”

“Yeah? Haven’t heard from her in a while.” I tried to reconcile Fred’s tuxedoed aura against the funereal closet I apparently treated as a bedroom. “Is it Friday night already?”

“Clean up this mess,” he suggested, pointing at me. “Give me a call.” He handed me a card.

It smelled like fermented cologne. I looked up at him.

“Nevermind that,” he said. “Chicks dig it.”

I Don’t Know What to Say

Lately I am at a loss as to what to write on this blog. I have been writing at least a thousand words a day since I started that story, what is it, seventeen days ago? Today I wrote four thousand words of fiction in four hours. I’m up to just under twenty thousand words on the story. And I’m nearly finished with the badger story I was talking about before. But I haven’t been writing much diary stuff. Maybe it’s good. I don’t know, shit I really don’t know what to write on here because I want to write something meaningful or entertaining and I can’t think of how to do either. I started to write like four other times a post on this blog about nothing and then I just deleted it because who wants to just write drivel but then it’s been a week and nothing has been posted so…this shit is just going to dry up then? What? Then I thought I’ll start a blog that actually has a point but I couldn’t think of anything like that at all. Maybe it will all come back to me eventually. Or not. I want pie.

What the Fuck Am I Talking About?

I am seventy-five hundred words into this new story and it’s going really well. I started looking over my old stories and counting how many actual new stories I ever wrote versus how many diary entries I wrote. It turns out I haven’t written all that many different stories. I mean there are a lot, but not in comparison to the diaries. So then I thought how much time do I actually spend even writing fiction and it’s not much, cumulatively over the year. 2015 year of new stories. I’m still working on that badger story, thinking of new shit for it etc. Now I spend only a little time writing fiction, between ten minutes to an hour at most per day, but I don’t talk about it as much. I’m only talking about it today because I’ve got some extra time before work and I’ve already exceeded my thousand word limit.

I’m listening to songs from Ok Computer over and over again while I’m writing today, even though I’ve never taken the time to get into Radiohead. I know I should, but I should do everything else, too. I’ve been watching Mad Men episodes again at night. Tonight there’s a party after work paid for by the managers for the staff of the restaurant and I told my book guy I am not going to drink a lot and then I told him the story of getting fired from that restaurant where I was a bartender. The whole story, that might have been a mistake. Another chink in the armor.

I ended up sweeping all over the apartment today, lifting rugs and such looking for this earring that we lost the night of the last big drink. Can’t find it. I guess the cat hid it. It felt a little like spring cleaning. The cat is sitting on the bookshelf with it’s eyes closed like it’s really digging the music. I would like it to be spring, because it is cold, but today it is warmer and there was snow yesterday and now it is melting so fast in the heat that when you walk a tree-lined street like I did with my wife this morning it feels like it is raining as the snow melts from the trees.

Yesterday my wife and I made meatloaf for dinner. While it was cooking I was like, well I got to write a thousand words before bed and she said fuck it just do it now while this is cooking and I did and she folded the laundry. It wasn’t the easiest thousand words I ever wrote, with her there talking to the cat, but I was surprised to find that I could get it done even on a day that we were together. It has been six days since I committed to the idea.

Today I tried to do more pushups but I am really pathetic at them. I have been to the gym three times this month, and my goal is five so, well I think I should make it. I didn’t think it would be this hard, but with the vacation I guess is what made it hard. What the fuck am I even talking about any more? I don’t know, fuck it.

Today I went down to the train to come back home but there were these signs talking about G train to church avenue on this side of the tracks and I thought I was on the wrong side so I went out and came back in on what I thought was the other side and I tried to use my card which is a monthly pass but you can’t use the monthly pass consecutively because you could be letting other people in with your same card so it wouldn’t let me in so I had to use a different card so there went $2.50 and then I went inside and realized I was still on the same sign but this time I was sure it was right and I looked down the track and there was my train but it was too far to run for it and so I had to sit down and wait another ten minutes for a train and I was thinking fuck man! Fuck this shit! New fucking York! God damn it! So then I read some Bleak House on my phone and it passed but I was like god damn it! for a minute there.

I was listening to Marc Maron yesterday and said that Maynard from Tool told him that if you don’t believe in Magic a little bit it’s hard to be creative and I’ve heard that before in a different way but I thought that was a cool way to say it or rather it was a cool person to say it.

Half an hour until I go to work now…feels like it’s been a while since I’ve been in this position of waiting to go to work and not really wanting to go, but here I am all the same. And just last night I thought for the first time that I was excited to have coffee in the morning and already I was doing something fun, watching TV, and I thought that I had achieved whatever it was that I wanted to achieve in life and so it was all downhill from here and downhill is where I’m happiest anyway and anyway it was a slow grade but just enough so I didn’t have to work any more…but now I feel differently and as Chuck Klosterman said, “This is why I will always hate mornings.”

But no, I’m good, I’m cool, I’ve just got too much time today, enough time to be thinking too much about myself. The subconscious mind is the smart one, the conscious mind can’t be engaged too much or your start wondering about shit that you shouldn’t be wondering about…again, what the fuck am I talking about?

This is what you get. Oh, Jesus Fuck I forgot to eat! Well, at least for that.

Stop Writing While You Still Know What Will Happen Next

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.

My New Novel Idea

Ben and Lucas were in a cafe near the White House. Ben had his feet on the table. Lucas was drumming on his thighs.

Lucas said, “I know exactly what I’m going to do.”

Ben said, “Those aren’t words you hear very often.”

“I’m going to drive a fast car from here to California.”

“Boring.”

“Yeah, nevermind. I have no idea what I’m going to do.”

“Those are words you hear very often.”

“Dammit I want to do something!”

“Do anything, as long as it’s not boring.”

“That’s the problem!”

“Why do you always shout?”

“I don’t need this shit.” Lucas got up and walked outside.

Brian paid the bill and followed. He said, “Hey look, we’re two guys, right? Able bodied. Hetero sexual. Pretty good looking. Have normal traits. You know what we should do?”

“What?”

“Not be in a fucking book.”

The Locusts Have No King, Yet They All Advance in Ranks

New post time, bitches. I’m at the Best Western in Burlington, Vermont. I’m drinking on some nasty ass hotel room coffee and listening to some antiquated ass classical music. I got the curtains drawn and the lights on and the headphones in and I am ready to write some shit. Fucking A. I think it was Gertrude Stein who said that being a genius takes a lot of doing nothing for long periods of time, and what I got to do to get ready, as I’ve had time to figure out these last couple weeks, to write, is to do a whole lot of nothing, wasting time type shit.

This morning, after wasting a bunch of time eating soggy Frosted Flakes and staring sidelong at these weird hockey families that are in town for some kind of weird hockey type shit, I came upstairs to my room and wondered if the Gideons still held sway in this part of the country. I pulled the drawer to the bedside table open and, sure enough, them mother fuckers been through here.

When I was a kid and a Christian, I used to read Proverbs all the time. I think that’s how I got to be smarter than my parents. Proverbs says you should shut the fuck up, invite criticism, avoid bitches, and work hard. I only learned how to do the first one, but that was good enough to make me look smarter than a lot of people, and if you aren’t always talking you can learn some shit. Maybe you start writing some shit down. Proverbs also says stay the hell out of debt but I did not even try to listen to that one. What a bitch!

Anyway, this morning I read the whole damn book. I remember thinking when I was a kid what a drag it was to read the bible. Man I read that shit this morning and that shit was fucking deep, homie. Of course I know which book to read, though, because Leviticus and Galatians is a Wednesday plate of stewed cabbage. Yeah I read that whole shit and copied down like twenty really good Proverbs. Check this one out “The heart knows it’s own bitterness, a stranger does not share in its joy.” What you know about that?

Shit I got through the whole book of Solomon’s platitudes and I said fuck it, might as well read my all time favorite book in the Bible, Ecclesiastes. I would recommend you read that shit today. That’s when Solomon was so old and dried up he started calling himself The Preacher, and that’s when he realized that after all this trouble he went through to store up wisdom, the same thing happens to the fool and the wise man. He said in Ecclesiastes, “For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow,” which is some commonplace shit, but check this one out (this is actually in the mother fucking bible, kid!) “Therefore I praised the dead who were already dead, more than the living who are still alive. Yet, better than both is he who has never existed, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun.” Ha! What a crazy ass.

Anyway, that’s what I did. Then I jerked off to an American Apparel ad and ate a stale Reuben sandwich.

The Winter of 2015

I just finished reading three books (Tess of the d’UrbervillesThe 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.

Is This All We Took From New York?

I went to the Brooklyn Public Library today with my wife for the second time. We looked for books on the history of New York to help her write her latest paper for school. There were some books that had won awards and some books that looked outdated. I was curious about all of the books, I wanted to have read all of them and know what the titles meant, but I didn’t want to actually read them. I mean I wanted to, if I had all the time in the world, but I wouldn’t make time to, because none of them were written in a way that resonated with me.

I finished American Gods today. Four days. I just had to know how it turned out. Not so much a page turner as just a book that really spoke to me and so I just pushed everything to the side to read it, like how I do when friends come to visit. Just wiped the desk clean, so to speak.

I had a beer on the way back from the library. A belgian trippel at a place named for a saint near Bergen Street. Yum. We are going out for burgers for dinner. And I have no money, but fuck it, I actually do have some money. I was going to pay bills with it but I’m sure this is more important. Fuck bills.

I was thinking today that I have to stop identifying myself as a waiter/server/bartender. I have to allow that shit to fade out. I don’t want to pick up the mantle of professional dealer with manic old men who write books, but at least that would be a step in the right direction.

I am an artist!

Abnormally Peaceful Badgers

Yesterday right before I was about to leave work, they asked if I could stick around for another shift. I really did not want to do it at all, even though i knew I had nothing to really do, besides try to write something for three hours, and i really need the money. So I had to take a few deep breaths and then I accepted it. It was fine, and then when I got off work I felt a lot better than I felt the night before, when I just tried and tried to write something. I did end up writing something that night, by the way. It was this weird vignette about a guy whose dad made him build a porch when he was eight years old and he mangled it up so it looked like an MC Escher etching and then later in life he looks at it and almost trips over a family of abnormally peaceful badgers. Sounds more like a dream I had then something I wrote in full consciousness. I dreamt last night that I had taken charge of a diseased leopard in order to get a few free steaks in the mail. Totally worth it.

I was thinking maybe I’ll just have to write really fast and try to finish stories in one go, that way I don’t lose interest in them. Like now I don’t want to write about those goddamn badgers, what the hell was I thinking? Or that road trip I put in ten thousand words on, that shit was fun to read but I don’t know what to say about it now. Guess I’ll just have to push myself.

Write Something Dammit

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.