Marcia Clark’s hair

I think I’ve left Rumored to Exist alone for long enough to ferment properly (that didn’t make sense). Anyway, I read the May 15 draft (I think it was all of the corrections I did while I was in California, with no new material) and I laughed my ass off again. I think if my 3 or 4 months of editing after that point didn’t totally fuck it up, I might just do some light touch-ups and finish the damn thing.

I hated some of the randomness in the first and second draft, even though the book was about randomness. I also thought that it was too personal and I’d “out” some people in some way. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Howard Stern, it’s that you can’t out people who have fucked you over. So I’ll change the names, but everything stays. I think if I keep the dropped bits and put in the added ones, it could be 300 pages of pure bullshit. I like that.

But then I worry about really finishing a book. I mean, it’s like if you were thinking about killing someone and then you WENT OUT AND DID IT and you had blood on you and this dead fucking body and you didn’t know what to do next. I don’t know what to do next. Publishers? Agents? Editors? What? I haven’t played the ass-eating game of going to the dinners and the readings and talking to the people at the signings. When I go to book signings, I am always convinced that the authors think I am a CRAZED HOMICIDAL ON PAINT THINNER. When I met Kay Redfield Jamison, I really wanted to tell her that her writing about the manic depressive illness helped me out, but I think she thought I was some kind of JOHN WAYNE GACY ready to jump over the table and fuck her with my arm before vomiting in her eyes or something. I just have that aura about me, especially when I walk 20 blocks to the book store where everyone reads, and I’m smelling like someone who ran an iron man competition in a vinyl bondage suit.

Fuck, where was I?

Oh yeah. So I don’t know any publishers. And I have no friends in high places. And the book market, to quote Joe Pesci, FUCKS YOU. Unless you were somehow related to the OJ trial or you got your DICK cut off recently, you can’t get a book deal. 450 million manuscripts are written a year, and the 150 that are published have to do with Marcia Clark’s hair. I could print on a vanity press, which I have considered. I thought about printing like 500 books, selling a few through zines and the internet, and just giving the rest away. I’d lose money, but it would be fun to have a book and to show it to people. WHo knows.

Finger indp0100@copper.ucs.indiana.edu if you are at indiana. It’s funny.

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Walking to work

I walked to work today. It was sort of surreal, listening to Biohazard and twisting through all the skyscrapers and highway overpasses and crap to get here. It took about 45 minutes. I made it but my walkman didn’t – it is a real piece of shit, and maybe the batteries are dead or the tape is all tensioned weird and running slow, but it is fucked. Anyway, it was a decent walk and very strange, because I used to walk so much when I was in school and didn’t have a car. I walked an hour and 15 minutes each way to work on Sunday night, and almost every day walked an hour from campus to my apartment, sometimes each way. I spent a lot of fucking time walking, listening to a walkman, watching the terrain move at one or two miles an hour, wishing it was a hundred. But I walked so damn much that I could eat anything and never gain weight. At the time, I thought I was a little heavy, and lifted weights, ate salad, did sit ups, walked more on my days off, all of that stuff. I think I was about 25 lbs lighter than I am now, which is about right. In high school and my first year of college, I probably weighed about 50 lbs less than I do now. I hated it back then, because I was a major geek and wanted to put on 40 lbs of muscle or something. I was a walking fucking skeleton, and I ate Chips Ahoy by the bagful. I think I had a tapeworm. Anyway, all of this lithium and prozac and everything else has fucked my metabolism, plus I never exercise. I drive everywhere. I am nowhere near being the size of the average Jerry Springer audience member, but I wish I had the metabolism I used to have.

And I usually don’t work out. But sometimes I get on a kick. There’s a gym in my apartment building, and I convince myself – “All I have to do is get on the treadmill, at 3 in the morning when I have the place to myself, and run while I listen to the first Black Sabbath album, and do that 3 times a week and I’m set.” I go up there, and run for 40 minutes or an hour or whatever and come back and drink a gallon of water and take a shower and think “fuck! That was great. All I need to do is keep this up and eat better and I’ll be able to wear all of my clothes from high school.”

Of course, three days later, I will be in bed watching some assinine documentary about Nazi hot air balloons from World War II and eating Doritos. I can’t stick to a regimen like that, because it’s useless. It’s useless to sit on a piece of machinery and run for an hour and waste an hour of my time, just so the little readout tells me that I almost burned off the calories from one of the 16 Cokes I drank today. If I had to run for an hour to win some cash prize, or if I was at the Miss Nude Everything World adult theme park and I had to walk 16 miles over the course of the day to see all of the exhibits, I would do it. If my car broke down and I had the choice between the Metro and walking to work, I’d walk. If the walking is mixed with doing something, seeing something more than a rubber belt spinning around two rollers, than I would do it. But right now, I don’t have anything like that in my life. I don’t walk to classes, or to work, or to whatever. I sit in a chair and write. So maybe if I had something creative to do, I might be in better shape.

And before anyone says anything about hiking, climbing, rollerblading, distance cycling, or any of the other hip and trendy thirtysomething hobbies of the Pacific Northwest: NO. I am not going to participate in any sport where step one is buying five grand in equipment. Also, in all of these sports, there are people who would make me look like a complete idiot. I know fifty year old men that could kick my ass in mountain climbing. I couldn’t climb the rope in gym class in 9th grade. That was about 50 pounds ago, I know I couldn’t now. The reason I write and work with computers is because that is my gift and I was given that gift in lieu of any physical ability. It’s no secret that I’m no good at sports. Shawn Kemp can’t write WinHelp. Michael Jordan can’t program in C. I can’t run a single lap around a gym without getting shin splints. It’s something I’ve learned to accept.

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Writing with headphones on

I’m reaching some weird point with the manuscript, the point where I usually bail and forget about it. But I need to stick with it, and I think I’ve identified the problem as a problem with the voice of the whole book. I’m trying to be too serious, too wordy, and it makes the whole thing drag and doesn’t make it too interesting. That sounds too simple to just say that, the hard part is going to be fixing it. I have some ideas, but nothing I’d like to mention yet.

I finished reading Bukowski’s _Post Office_ last night. I love that book. I almost went back to page 1 and started reading it again. Maybe I will. I think I will read _Women_ first, it is the logical continuation.

At least today I feel okay sleepwise. Karena was over last night, and she had to leave at like 6am to get to work. I stayed up with the headphones on, trying to write, while she slept. When she took off, I slept for another 4 hours. I guess I woke up and started saying a bunch of funny shit, but I don’t remember. I was pretty out of it – the sleep felt good. I’m looking forward to a good 3 or 4 hour dive through the writing tonight.

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Walking dead

I am the walking dead today. I slept about 2 hours right after work, and I slept almost 10 last night. It was pouring rain outside, which meant I was hypnotized into a deep sleep, and I had abnormal dreams all night long. Anyway, I rolled into work today and could barely open my eyes. I’m still trying to get the caffeine going so I’ll be able to function a bit more.

I’m still writing, working on Summer Rain, but it’s getting tougher. I didn’t realize I left significant blank spots in the manuscript that were to be filled in later. I thought I’d just be doing some light editing, but now I’ll have to write complete chapters to insert into this thing. I guess it will be nice to do some writing from scratch, but I need to get the whole story in my head before I start messing with it more.

I do like digging through old writing and finding things that I think are ingenious, things I didn’t realize I wrote. I was digging through my hard drive the other night, trying to get things into some kind of order, and I found this long monologue I wrote about this woman who sold me a microwave at Target. I’d forgotten the piece and forgotten the women, and laughed my ass off when I read the story. I always love finding stuff like that. I think I’m a boring and redundant writer, then I find a story I scribbled on the back of some physics homework in 1992.

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Finding style

It’s just another day. I spent the weekend staying up all night and sleeping all day. Now I just about totalled myself getting in here, and my eyes are welded shut with sleep. My stomach is churning from no food and too much caffeine. I could use a nap. I could use ten naps.

I shouldn’t bitch – I got a lot of writing done. I cracked open the Summer Rain text, and started at page one. I hope to read through it, making revisions and getting up to speed with the text again. I used to be able to think of a paragraph or conversation and just turn right to that page without thinking. Now I forget how the fucking story goes in some places.

Last summer, I cut the book into three pieces – three books, to make it more logical, to fit together better. It’s sort of three phases of the character’s summer, and follows his thinking about what he should do with his life. It also makes the text easier to work with – the chapters are shorter, and I can just work with each third of the book, and not worry about this giant volume of writing all at once.

My plan this time is to read through the whole thing, correct the choppiness, and fix any holes. I do have a larger idea to break the story apart by alternating the chapters of reality with some other chapters – maybe flashbacks, email messages, or something. That’s a bit ambitious right now, though. I just want to focus on making the main body of text readable. I know nobody will want to buy this book, or even read it. But I want to make it readable to me, and I want to finish it. I’d feel better with a fully-functional book sitting under my bed and collecting dust than a bunch of disjointed text that makes up 90% of a book.

Also, I think my drive to finish this book is different than before. When I wrote the first draft, I wanted to publish this book and make money and do interviews and be on Charlie Rose and become famous. I realize now that the book market in this country is fucked, and the only way you can get a book deal is to be a murderer or one of the lawyers at their trial. Americans don’t buy books anymore unless they’ve got the endorsement by some pop-rock idiot, or they were ghost written for a rock star or something. I can’t sell this book. I can’t give it away. And I don’t think anybody would read it, because it really drags, and tells a story that has a lot of vague hidden meaning that isn’t there for most people. It’s boring to most people. But it means a lot to me. And also, I have been afraid about talking about me. I didn’t want to discuss everything that happened with people because I was afraid they’d sue me. There was a lot of self-censorship involved, and I’ve decided to just cut the shit, hit the throttles, and write this fucking book. Nobody’s going to see it except me. So it’s time to belt this thing out.

I cut through two chapters last night, and made some minor changes. I am not happy with my writing style in the manuscript, and my first big changes will be cleaning this up. The beginning of the book’s been edited about 38 times, and past the first few chapters hasn’t really been touched from the original manuscript I started back at IU. So the first third of the book is really lofty, with me adding adjectives and adverbs all over the place to make it more descriptive. It reads like a dumb-ass trying to be smart. And then later in the book, I was typing faster than fuck while on a caffeine buzz, and some parts of the book just skip all over the place. There are whole sentences without verbs, lots of edit marks, stuff unfinished. So it all needs to be brought to the same level, the same style.

I’ve thought about what style to mimic for this book. Obviously, I want my own style and I need to find it. But I need to find it by writing SOMETHING and then slowly finding myself and changing. I guess what I want is a combination of Bukowski and Rupert Thomson. I want to be easy to read, easy to tackle, something that flows well, but has a depth behind it. I don’t want to spend half a page describing an environment – I’d rather briefly set it up, have the character and their actions describe it, and then continue. I guess Kerouac was into that, especially in On The Road. Anyway, the stuff is hard to read in places, and it needs to be simplified, but it still needs to capture the feeling.

Window washers are outside my office right now, dangling from ropes with buckets of soap and squeegees. It was pretty weird – I heard a knocking around, then saw these ropes drop and guys in harnesses fling down like SWAT team guys rapelling down to get the terrorists or something.

My stomach is feeling a little better, but I still need a nap…

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Alone in Seattle with empty calories

It’s been an odd day. Karena is gone, so I am here in Seattle alone. I slept until 2, bummed around, at 2 dinners’ worth of food at Denny’s, and then lost my Big Bertha model rocket. I need to stop putting so much time into rockets I lose.

I’m reading more Bukowski, getting ready to write, and eating Doritos.

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