I guess there was another earthquake last night, or rather thismorning, at about 3:50. I was still awake, fighting with sleep. It’s hard to tell if it was an earthquake or not in my apartment, because all of the traffic on I-5 frequently jostles around my building. This was a 3.something and didn’t do much. There have been like 3 or 4 minor but noticeable quakes in the last week. I heard a theory that all of these tiny slides might prevent a big earthquake.
I finished my first line edit of Rumored last night – it took about 13 days, not all of them productive. The next step will be to enter all of my changes into the computer – I edit on paper with red pen and then integrate everything into the original in emacs. It takes longer, but I like working in bed with a clipboard. More intimate… plus I’m lazy and like to lay down and write.
The next step will be to go through and rewrite each and every paragraph. Maybe 10% or 20% will stay, but the rest will be chopped up and redone from scratch. That’s a bit extreme, but there will be changes. Too much of the book talks about me – I need to obfuscate it. It’ll be a lot of work, but fun.
Almost forgot today. I was busy editing Rumored with my little clipboard and my little red pen.
There was an earthquake today, just after noon. It was a 4.9, out in the Puget Sound close to Bremerton. It freaked me out, being on the top floor of a 10 story building that’s all glass and electronics. This thing is built like a tank, but it still shook and waved around like part of some Disney ride or something. No damage, maybe some people’s pictures fell off the walls. Still, it was a little weird. This is earthquake 2 since I moved here, 3 really but I missed one because I was in San Francisco. It’s really like number 200-some since I moved here, but you need a seismograph to catch all of the other ones.
I’m thinking more about writing and future projects and stuff. Nothing I can talk about, but I do want to keep going in the same direction as I am with Rumored. I’m hoping to do a lot of writing over the summer, after I finish the edits. We’ll see.
It’s been a year since I started my current job. Nothing too eventful about that. I don’t like talking about my job too much in these journals. Just know that I have a job, and I work it, and I’ve been there a year.
All of a sudden, the sun is out like gangbusters. Maybe it’s time to go home and play.
I’ve been thinking more about this whole self-publishing thing. Printing copies of Rumored and selling them wouldn’t be much of a paradigm shift over when I printed copies of Xenocide and sold them from my apartment. It would cost about a jillion times more – actually, it wouldn’t cost that much more, since Xenocide 5 had a color cover and was photocopied 50 issues at a time, it cost about $2 per copy. To print 1000 books with a softcover and a square binding would cost somewhere around $2-$5 depending on pages, shipping, etc etc etc. So it’s more money initially, but not more money per capita.
The main thing about selling books vs. selling the death metal zine was that there was a whole underground network to sell the zine. There are a lot of dedicated fans of extreme metal music, and they are all pen pals and write each other and send everyone’s fliers for zines, demos, CDS, shirts, etc to each other. And there are many zines who will trade ad space for nothing or sell you a back cover ad for only a few bucks. With Xenocide, I just printed the zines, printed a bunch of fliers, and pretty much waited for the checks to come rolling in. I wish there was such a fanatic group of book buyers out there. With this project, I’ll really have to scrape to find small bookshops that are willing to pick up books on consignment. That’s the real pain in the ass. My only relief is that if I do sell Rumored and just sell copy by copy in all of these mom and pop stores, I will have a good database compiled by the time I try to do the second book.
The editing of Rumored is going okay. I broke down a task list of what I want to accomplish over the next month or two. The first task, which is underway, is just a line-by-line read of the whole thing, to fix the obvious and remove the idiotic. As of last night, I am 1/3 through that. Then it goes to a harder edit, where I completely scrutinize each little piece and spend a lot of time finely molding each word. Then I make a pass where I arrange things (the current order is arbitrary) and cut things that I don’t like. Through these three steps, I might add more stuff as I’m going. If I feel like 100% new writing, I will do that.
And now that I’m thinking of the followup to Rumored, I wonder if this book should be all of the freak-out stuff, with more of the personal stuff in another book. I thought about writing a book that’s just 10 or 20 long, personal narratives – each like a 10,000 word short story or something. It would still have some experimental aspect of it – sort of like that Hubert Selby Jr. book where it was a bunch of short stories and each guy had the same name but otherwise they were radically different. I love that kind of thing. But I am thinking about the next book and how it will happen. Mostly, I just want to produce another great vehicle that people will love and that I can finish fast. I don’t want to do this Summer Rain meets War and Peace 12000 page monologue with nothing grabbing in it, just for the sake of remembering my past. I’d love to do that stuff someday, but I guess it’s something you belt out later in your career. I mean, Kiss spent a few years belting out these kick-ass stadium-destroying power albums before they started doing the weird experimental shit and the solo albums. You can’t hit off right away with a novel that’s about a bath towel or something. I want to start out with a roar and then work my way to a gentle glow. But who knows, I change my mind every 10 seconds with this shit…
I never feel like I have enough time in the day now. By the time I eat dinner and deal with whatever bullshit I have to deal with every day, I am too lazy to edit anything. When I get up to speed on the editing, I just get rolling when it’s time to go to bed. I wish there were 30 hours, or I had more of the existing 24 or something.
I was reading a Chick Corea interview and he mentioned that the recurring melody on the _Eye of the Beholder_ album was something that occurred in a dream. It freaked me out – I’ve heard that album thousands of times, and every time I listen to it, I want to hear it again. It has a strange, dreamlike quality – but I never knew he really did write it in his sleep.
It’s another day of shitty weather. I didn’t really get a lot done last night, except for watching an almost-perfect lineup on Conan OBrien – George Carlin, Paula Per-whatserface, the supermodel, and Kevin Smith. Kevin didn’t have much time in there, but was hilarious. Also, I left almost all of my clothes in the washer, so I had nothing to wear. I came in with some dress slacks and a button-up shirt, two things I never wear unless someone has died recently (and seldom then, either).
I was at Barnes and Noble last night, which is one my favorite places to kill a few hours when I don’t want to write. There’s a test prep section that contains all of these books on how to learn calculus in 4 weeks or anatomy or physics. I think it’d be cool to buy a bunch of those books and memorize them, so I’d be able to cite medical knowledge or the postal worker’s exam in any of my fiction. But I know I’d buy them and never read them. I have about 16 learn-a-foreign-language courses in my apartment. I have used zero. I think once I learned enough German to confuse me when I commuted about 20 minutes to work – I’d listen to the tapes in my borrowed vehicle (my mom’s Celebrity stationwagon), but I’d almost always take out the tape and revert to some death metal band, since it was better to have Danzig stuck in your head instead of some dork reciting the German alphabet.
Around that time (summer if 1993), I started some detailed writing about my exploits. I planned to write a book about that summer, and write it while the summer was happening. Ray and I used to take frequent trips to Chicago to see bands, and every Monday or Tuesday, I’d have these long stories to type into my computer. I gave up on the idea at some point, and I lost everything I had on the computer when it crapped out after my stepdad powered it down and completely trashed the hard drive.
My high school went online. It’s pretty weird – most of the teachers I knew are either gone or have gone grey. After looking at the pages, I’ve decided to never go back and visit or go to the reunions. Things have changed too much in the last decade – it’s too weird. It’s like when I go back to the Monkey Ward store where I worked all through high school – a couple of people remember me, but the entire department where I worked is gone.
Why did Chick Corea start a second Elektric Band with all new people except for him and Eric Marienthal in 1993? I thought the first band was excellent, and the _Beneath The Mask_ album was the best damn thing they’d done. It was perfection. Did everyone decide to leave and make solo albums? They all sucked except Weckyl’s was tolerable. Oh well.
I didn’t mention this, but I got really sick on Sunday after we ate at Magic Dragon. I got some sort of chicken stuff and didn’t even eat all of it – I barely ate 20% of it. A few minutes later, I was almost doubled over in pain. I don’t know if it was food poisoning, or just a recurring trend in my eating habits. I have been developing more stomach problems after eating a lot of food or certain types of food, and I have to eat Tums or Rolaids or whatever. So I carry those with me, and then every time I have the medication with me, I get sick. I think it might be psychosomatic, but maybe it’s a lack of exercise and more stress. I had this problem about 5 years ago, and started spending a lot of money on over-the-counter medications. So maybe it’s the same thing. That was when I weighed a lot more, and spent all of my time on my ass, either in front of a computer or a TV. I moved back to school and started walking everywhere, lost a lot of weight, and I guess the problem went away. So maybe it will now that I’m getting a little more into shape.
I bought a bunch of different foods at Safeway the other night, in hopes of avoiding fast food. In the last few weeks, I’ve been eating at Wendy’s and McDonalds like every night, and sometimes for lunch, too. I’d like to find enough easy to prepare, not frozen foods to eat that I could just buy those and each cheaply and safely. I hate frozen foods because they all taste the same, that weird preservative taste, and they are just as expensive as eating at a fast food place. A TV dinner that has enough food in it to actually feed someone costs like $3.00, the same price as a burger and fries.
I don’t know why I am bitching about all of this – my eating habits are cyclical. I will get on a kick and figure out a diet or regimen of healthy foods, and stay on it for about a week. Then I’m back to fast food. My best diets are when I am broke and I’m forced to eat what food I have left for a week or two.
Did you know the DuPont chemist who invented polyester killed himself when he was like 46 or something? He went nuts and drank a bunch of cyanide. Maybe this 70s flashback crap with all-polyester clothes is a bad thing.
I forgot to mention that the damage to that woman’s car last week was $506, which means my insurance will go up. I got that news on Friday, and it sucked. Oh well, with any luck, I will be able to dump my current car and get something cheaper.
This morning, I ate breakfast. It was a rare thing – I made oatmeal. I wasn’t starving for lunch by 11:30, which was a nice change. I went grocery shopping last night and have cabinets full of food now. I’m looking forward to going home tonight and eating a real dinner.
I read Howard Stern – _Private Parts_ this weekend. Good book, but I could only find a softcover copy. It’s 10,000 pages thick, so by the time I was done, it was all twisted and mutated and no longer book-like and flat. Oh well. I have been obsessively reading this book about the history of plastic. It’s well-written and simple to figure out but still contains good historical information and a little more than the basic science behind the formation and discovery of plastic, bakelite, celluloid, and so forth.
I took some sleeping pills last night to avoid another up-all-night event like Tuesday. They really knocked me out, and I woke up very late for work today. I could barely function, nothing made sense and I’m surprised I managed to take a shower and drive to work. Then I got violently ill at lunch, and then stuck in traffic for an hour. So it’s been a memorable Friday the 13th so far. I’m thinking about hiding under my desk for the next 10 hours until it is over.
My mind’s been wandering, and it’s hard to think of some other topic to write about. Not much is going on that I want to talk about. I keep ending my sentences with the word about. I used the word ‘was’ 589 times in the latest rumored to exist draft. I use ‘really’ 38 times. I use fuck 205 times. Actually, that includes fucked, fucking, fucker, etc.
I hit someone’s car today. It was stupid, more of a low-speed tapping that messed up the little trim piece on their door. I think it might be like $200 of damage, so it probably won’t fuck up my insurance or anything. But it was a pain in the ass, very nervewracking, and I spent 20 minutes on my cellular phone in this parking lot, shouting above the traffic to my insurance agent. What a fucking nightmare.
I wasn’t at work yesterday – bad insomnia problems and the start of what felt like a cold made me stay home and sleep all day. I did get some editing done on the book though – all of the drafts are now in one draft. Now I can print it out and start with the red pen.
I’ve been reading a lot lately. I finished the Howard Stern book, read Microserfs, and started re-reading Mark Leyner’s Et Tu, Babe. I love Leyner’s work, but it’s very addictive…