Last Seattle entry

This should be my last entry from Seattle. Unfortunately it won’t be a great one, because I am sick, running a fever, having stomach problems, still have a lot of packing to do, and I leave in only 12 hours. If there is any one sure thing in life, it’s that I will get sick right before a trip. It looks like I will be seeing the great southwest in a dayquil haze now.

I got the rental car thismorning. It is an Oldsmobile Intrigue, in old-person white paint. It has auto-everything, and will be a real rest to drive it. It’s quite a bit different than the rabbit, which had manual-everything, except for the things that just didn’t work. I already took it for a test drive up to Lynnwood and back, and it seems great. I don’t know how good of mileage it gets, but the needle barely wavered int the 40-something miles I drove, so hopefully that will be OK.

Almost everything is packed. I am backing up the computer, and then it gets powered down. The apartment looks REALLY vacant now, just my air mattress and a bunch of piles of stuff awaiting the car or the dumpster.

I was going to write some kind of great ending at this point, but I’m trying not to get too sentimental about Seattle. I just want to get this shit in my car and get it behind me and think about it later. The cold isn’t helping me either. So I’m going to cut this short while I can still type. Maybe I’ll type in some entries from the road. If not, you’ll get the whole story when I reach New York on the 16th or so. Keep in touch, and wish me luck.


VW gone

The VW is gone. I turned over the title for a mere $100 to someone who answered my usenet ad. It’s the end of an era. At least this time, the person buying it intends to fix it up and keep it on the road. When I sold my last Rabbit, the frame was rusted through and the brakes were gone. The guy who bought it, also for $100, intended to use it as a parts donor for other stuff. This one went to a kid who worked at a Jiffy Lube and wanted to put in a bigger stereo and do other stuff to it. So, I hope it went to a good home. It served me well.

I’m trying not to get sentimental about this stupid shit. I’ve got a pile of junk awaiting the dumpster, including a comforter (you know, bed sheet) that I got for christmas 92. The pattern reminds me so much of the past, the different houses and beds on which it rested from 1992-1997. It reminds me so much of a certain ex-girlfriend, of the last era of the Mitchell Street house, and of my first years here in Seattle. Luckily, it smells like hell from being in storage, or I’d be sniffing it and thinking even more. This is what my life has been like lately: throwing out things that need to go in the trash, even though they are instant time machines to events and memories of my past.

Bill Perry is here, and just got back from a trip to Japan. He’d been awake for about 24 hours straight, but gained a day on the return flight. I went to Chang’s Mongolian Grill with him and Duffin. It was the last trip I made with the car, which I guess is a good way to end things.

I hate to say it, but I feel like I’m getting sick. I don’t know, I was moving stuff on my balcony and kicked up a lot of smog dust, so maybe I’m just coughing that back up. But I would hate to get bronchitis the day before this fucking trip. I already know my digestive system will massively rebel an hour before I’m scheduled to leave – that’s a given. I think that some kind of hypnotism or aversion therapy might make these medical problems go away. I know that I occassionally use a meditation tape for depression, and it actually works fairly well when I’m trying to fall asleep and 80,000 things are going through my head. I doubt there’s a similar tape for respiratory infections, though.

It seems like there was something else I had to write about, but I’ve got to haul some more garbage downstairs, and then try to go to bed early. I’m not going anywhere tomorrow without a car, so I’m sure I’ll write more then.


The clean air of Seattle

Very tired. I did more cleaning, and tried to do some trip planning – maps, directions, etc. I think a GPS is going to help a lot. I’ve also been working on Summer Rain, but I ended up doing some structural changes, continuity things. I didn’t add many words, but I fixed some problems.

I should sleep. I think I breathed in a bunch of smog dust and now I’m coughing like I have TB. Anyone who thinks Seattle has clean air should check out my patio. That’s all for now.


The Bellevue Denny’s run

How long has it been since I’ve updated? Everything’s been a blur of either going to UPS or hauling crap down to the dupster. I have one last trip to UPS, and that’s to send off my stereo. Otherwise, everything’s going into the trash or my car, with the exception of a few things that others might snag. The place is starting to look very empty, but now the mad rush of cleaning, scrubbing, and vacuuming needs to start.

I have allegedly sold my car, for $100. I say allegedly because I have it until Sunday night, when the sale takes place, and there’s always a chance it will fall through. But it will be gone, and I guess I’m a little sad. It’s a piece of shit, and it’s starting to develop problems, but it reminds me so much of my old VW, the one from 91-92, and there’s so much nostalgia behind that old heap. I won’t miss driving in Seattle – don’t believe anything you hear, Seattle’s transportation situation sucks balls in a major way. And don’t believe that there’s a public transit system here, because there isn’t. I won’t go into that now, though. The car – I will miss it. I should take some pictures tomorrow. I would take it for a nice two hour drive, but that only gets me about 5 miles from my house.

Almost every Friday night, when nothing’s going on, I drive to the Denny’s right off of 520 in Bellevue for dinner. I eat alone, write a bunch, and then drive to the Barnes and Noble over by Bellvue Square Mall and shop for books. Sometimes I also hit the Tower Records there, and on the way back, I go to Safeway for junk food and various caffiene. Then I get home and write. This has been a tradition since I first got to Seattle. I didn’t know where any other B&N or Denny’s was, so I would go out there. And I’ve done this on and off for about four years.

So it hit me that today was my last Friday in Seattle, and I had no other plans, so I decided I needed to do this again. On the way over, driving across 520 in the dark and listening to the last Queensryche album, it really sunk in that it’s almost over here. I guess all week I’ve been so busy with packing and thinking “I’ve got another week,” and then it was suddenly Friday. I’ve got the weekend, then Monday and Tuesday are eaten up by cleaning activities, getting the rental car, and maybe saying bye to a couple of people. But then, I’m on the road. It was an almost scary thought, as I sat there in Denny’s eating one of those awful skillet things and scribbling in my notebook.

Everyone keeps asking me if I will miss Seattle. I thought about this today while driving around Northgate, listening to the aforementioned Queensryche album. That tape reminds me so much of the apex of my Seattle experience, which was probably when it came out – late spring of 97. It reminds me so much of driving around in my old 94 Escort, I can pretty much smell the new car smell and plastic interior, and feel the power steering and plush bucket seats. I drove so much then, down to Longview every other weekend, listening to that tape over and over. It was when I was pulling out of debt, and actually had a few bucks left over on the day before payday. It’s not that I miss the situations or the people as much as the general aura, the feel that I’ll always get when I listen to that album.

I guess I didn’t answer my question. But, it’s hard to explain. I miss all of the places I’ve lived, even the horrible ones, for different reasons. And I wouldn’t want to go back to them today, but the memories are great. And I guess that’s what will happen with Seattle.

I’ve gotta hit the hay. I’ve been trying to push back the sleep schedule so I can leave at 6am on Weds. I’m waking up at about 9 now, so I should be able to make it. We’ll see.


working on Summer Rain

I am working on Summer Rain as much as I can right now. Actually that’s not true, but I am working on it several hours a day. I find that after 4 or 5 hours of it, I can’t go on any more, unless I’m really on a run with it. I was hoping to finish a draft before I moved, but it doesn’t look like that will happen now. But it’s still going good.

I am thinking of recording a “leaving here”/”on the road” MiniDisc with a bunch of songs appropriate for leaving one town and going to another. You’d be surprised – it’s like the second-most popular song topic behind the sappy “[s]he left me, boo hoo” sort of thing.

My sleep schedule is so bent out of shape – I’ve been staying up till 5, and I need to be waking up by 5 or 6 next week. I need to get out of here and go to bed.


new home layout

I have so massively behind on shit I have to do tonight that I’m bleeding out of my eye sockets. This is just a short one. Go check out my top level site, and let me know what you think of the new layout. The last few items in the list will go somewhere else eventually. I’m esp. interested in how it looks in IE since I don’t have a copy. Netscape doesn’t do the mouse-over highlighting on links. And I did a bunch of stylesheet hacks which are supposed to be browser-independent, but never are.

Summer Rain, book 3 = 66268. That needs to be 85000 soon. Like I said, gotta go.

[2020 – long ago, rumored had its own layout, and this was under one directory. Now, the home is the blog. Weird to still see these old entries, so I’ll leave them.]


About to rain

Today felt like a day in Bloomington back in 1992 – the weird vibe you get when it’s about to rain and it’s light out, but the clouds are trying to stomp it all out. Although I ignored this in my book describing that summer, the first week or two was filled with cold and borderline rainy weather like this. I didn’t have a job, the girlfriend had split, and I was stuck taking a political science class that looked pretty daunting. For about the first 10 days, it felt like the entire world was going to collapse in on me. And that weather helped reinforce the feeling.

I read in one of the Bukowski letters books (I’ve been reading both of them on and off, just opening to a random spot and reading for a few minutes or hours) and when he quit the post office to write full time, he went on a ten day terror ride of drunkenness, hangovers, no food, and despair. I guess things have been somewhat easier here, although every time I go to Safeway and drop a fiver on a couple of 2-liters or something, it makes me cringe a bit and think about money. It’s going to be an odd trip across the country.

Ryan’s party on Friday was pretty decent. I got there early and we were both a little freaked because nobody showed up for a couple of hours. I guess everyone learned their lesson on his last party, when there was no food and he was still cleaning an hour into the thing. But the whole gang showed up, plus a bunch of other people I didn’t know. It was pretty fun because everyone knew it was my going-away party so all sorts of strangers were coming up to me and talking to me. I had to tell the whole story a thousand times, but it was much better than doing so with the people at work, because these were all people that thought the whole adventure was cool.

So I shot a bunch a video, talked to everyone, drank a fair amount of beer, and got home around 5am. Since that has been my new bedtime lately, everything worked fine.

All I’ve been doing, aside from sleeping and wandering around aimlessly, is working on Summer Rain, or throwing stuff out. I’ve been shuffling through various shelves, boxes, and corners and pitching more and more stuff in the garbage. I sort of feel like those guys who pushed helicopters over the edge of aircraft carriers during the evacuation of South Vietnam.

Oops, I went off and started reading something for like 45 minutes, and now I forgot what I was talking about. I guess this would be a good place to stop.


An effort to think more like a starving writer

I removed myself from On Display because I’m sick of every other journal except mine. Is that wrong? Maybe I will start a ring for text-only journals written by people who don’t read other journals and don’t care about graphics. If you think your journal fits the bill, email me. Also, it helps if you like Black Sabbath.

I’ve been reading Bukowski’s two books of letters, in an effort to think more like a starving writer. It’s made me realize I need to think more seriously about my books and get stuff done. Today I went to Virginia Lore’s and gave her the first two parts of Summer Rain and a recent draft of Rumored to Exist. She read part of Summer Rain and seemed into it, so hopefully that means another dedicated reader to give me detailed feedback, along with Michael, Andrea, and Marie. BTW, if you are reading this and want to review any of my stuff, it’s on my web site. But you have to email and ask for the password. I’m warning you in advance though that it’s a daunting task – thousands of pages, but maybe you’ll enjoy it.

I’ve been working more on Summer Rain lately, trying to get the third book in shape before I move. It’s at about 62,000 words, and my goal is 85,000. (That’s for the third book – the whole thing is currently like 220,000 words.) I’ve been piddling around with how the ending works. The whole thing needs to come crashing down pretty fast, like within a couple of chapters, and it’s not exactly smooth right now. It happens too fast, and out of nowhere. I’m trying to hid little clues and sort of pull back the duration of this final hammerblow to the chest so it’s not too formulaic or something. Although the word count is getting there, some of the final chapters still look pretty fucked.

In the last day or two, I’ve been looking back at older pieces of Summer Rain and doing some housekeeping. I’ve been working on the book almost constantly for a year now, except for the sporadic vacations I’ve taken with Rumored. So there’s writing I’ve done from like last May or even older that I haven’t looked at or messed with in a while. In fact, there are bits and pieces in book 3 I haven’t touched in months. It’s always nice to go back to something you’ve written and forgotten. When I go back to old parts of SR, I see pieces that make me laugh, prose that I think is strong, and stuff that works. That’s good, because in old drafts of SR, I cringe at the stuff I find. Rumored takes the cake though – after I set it down and let it ferment for a few months, I pick it up and find stuff I forgot I wrote, stuff that usually makes me laugh out loud. I love when that happens.

The big party is tomorrow. I don’t know who will be there, except for the usuals. I hope it’s a lot of people, but even if it’s just me, Ryan, Todd, and Keiko telling old stories about Spry, it’ll be fun. Every time I say I won’t miss Seattle, I think of another person that I will miss. And today, me and Virginia went walking, and went to this park up on Queen Anne hill, where she lives. It overlooked EVERYTHING – all of Puget sound right in front of us, the waters going off to the San Juans on the right, with little tugboats and ferries going back and forth below. And to the left, you could see all of downtown Seattle – Belltown, the Space Needle, the buildings, Alaskan Way, Key Arena, and if it would have been clear, even Mount Rainier. Virginia told me this story about how that spot was her first view of Seattle, how when she was going to school in Olympia, she had a crazy blind date that drove her up there and it was the first time she saw the city. It’s kindof sad to think that it will be one of the last times I get a good look at everything at once.

I videotaped it, of course. Making lots of tapes before I leave. I’m going to bring the thing to the party. Having a bunch of drunk people pass around a camera and make commentary is usually a pretty good view later when you’re sober. I have 3 more two-hour tapes to fill on the way out. I have no idea what I’ll do with them once I finish taping them – I still have about 4 hours of Disneyland circa 1997 that I’ve only watched like twice.

I promised myself I’d write until I was tired, and now I am.



Ryan Grant is having a party/wake for me this Friday. If you’re in Seattle, it would be terrific if you could show. Here’s his message:

Party! Friday the 19th, 8pm. <– more info, map, directions. Jon Konrath is, as some of you may have heard, leaving the state. In fact, he’s moving to the Other Coast. All of you can do something about this. You can show up at my place Friday and, well, do whatever you want to about it. Most of us will be mingling, eating, drinking (to various degrees), and anticipating the Volkswagon giveaway. The rules are basically: bring yourself, invite friends, and if any self-immolations happen, they have to be out on the deck. – Ryan

That’s all for now. I’m supposed to be working on the book. Maybe I’ll write more in a bit.


First day of freedom

Today was my first day of freedom, job-wise. Too bad I spent the whole day dragging hundreds of pounds of books down to my car and over to UPS. I dropped about $250 on shipping today, but now my apartment looks amazingly more barren. I started to pack more books tonight, but I’m down to one more box, and then I need to buy more.

It always feels odd to be hanging out on a day when the rest of the world is working. It’s like seeing a world you never knew existed. When I went to college and I skipped classes or otherwise found a way to screw around for an afternoon, I never felt the same sensation – college towns have their busy times, but so many people are vaguely employed or full-time students. I saw the same thing in Elkhart, though. I’d work at Monkey Ward’s during the day some summers, and when I went to get some lunch at the hot dog stand in the mall, the concourses would be completely barren, save a few senior citizens. During my first trip to UPS, Seattle felt like that – fewer cars on the road, the yuppie contingent was absent, and it just had a strange feeling, like you could tell at a glance that the majority of the city was behind a desk or at a factory.

During my second trip, around 3:30, traffic was already nearing a peak. I don’t know what the hell’s up with this city. They should’ve spent half a billion on a monorail, not on two stadiums.

I’m supposed to be working on Summer Rain, so I’m going to get back to it.