I’m probably too old to be listening to Rise Against, but for some reason I am, and I’m supposed to be editing this fucking book, and I’m not. It’s still getting there, I guess. I wish it was done though so I could work on something else.
I had an involved dream the other night that I was in Cambodia on New Year’s. And I needed to get out of the hotel and take a cab somewhere, but I couldn’t talk in Khmer and nobody spoke English, so I told the cab driver to take me to McDonald’s. The McDonald’s was actually two rooms in a walk-up apartment, run by a pair of hillbillies and completely off the radar from the franchise. They had bottles of generic Fanta that had probably been refilled dozens of times with hepatitis-infused kool-aid, and soy hamburgers that tasted like death, wrapped in photocopies of McDonald’s wrappers. The french fries were made of smashed plantains, and a 500-pound woman with no teeth kept telling me it was all real, and I could only buy things with cash, American dollars. I don’t remember what happened after that, something about explaining to my step-dad how on-demand cable TV worked.
I think I can start talking about this now: I signed a contract with a production company who will be recording an audio book for Atmospheres. They sent the first fifteen minutes the other day, and it’s pretty phenomenal. I mean, the book’s great and you should read it (of course), but hearing someone else read it makes it even better. I don’t know all of the details on the release yet, but it will probably happen by the fall, and it will be an exclusive through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes, for download. I don’t know how much it will cost, and they set the price, but it’s targeted to be a 6.5-hour book, so it might be $25 or so. There will probably be deals through Audible though, like if you sign up for an account, you could get it for free or something like that. Stay tuned for more details, because it will be awesome when it’s done.
I am reading the new Henry Rollins book, which is sort of a mixed bag. It’s essentially two years of his daily journals, or about 500 pages of tales of travel and work. He has some amazing adventures, going to crazy countries in Africa and south Asia that require you to have a map and a wikipedia connection to find where he is. But some of it also gets monotonous, like when he’s on a speaking tour and the daily entries are not much more than “drunk people at show/this bus sucks/this club owner is a jackass/repeat.” And it’s sort of dangerous for me to read this sort of thing, because I have hundreds of thousands of words of journals like this, and a strong compulsion to throw them together, drop in some pics, and send them off to CreateSpace and the Kindle store for consumption. But I’m not a famous punk rock dude, so that’s not an option.
I do sometimes think about unloading half-baked writing like that. Like maybe I should compile a book called “First Thirds” that is the front end of three failed NaNo novels. Or it would be vaguely interesting to take a thousand pages of my sent mail and stitch it into a book. Or maybe not. And I’ve got enough on my plate that I don’t need to chase those dragons.
I am also slowly dumping new words into a book that could become the next Atmospheres, or maybe it’s a breeding ground for new flash fiction. I’ll leave you with a short bit that was written last March. Enjoy.
I couldn’t go to the meetings anymore, because the urge to scream “SHUT THE FUCK UP” every three seconds became too huge. I knew I’d eventually snap and tell someone from marketing to stick their tongue in my asshole, and there’s no taking that back. But they brought free donuts every Tuesday, the good kinds, drenched in syrups and candies. You’d fart the yeast-cloud of death for hours after gorging on four thousand calories of that shit, but it was totally worth it.
He carried the back rim from an electric bike over his shoulder as we hopped from bar to bar in the east village, searching for a place with Absinthe milkshakes for St. Patrick’s day. “It’s going to cost 50 billion dollars a foot to dig a new subway,” he said, chugging Jaegermeister. “And by the time it’s done, everybody’s going to be taking autonomous cars everywhere. We’re basically paying ten trillion dollars for a new urinal for the homeless.”
Someone charged me twenty dollars cash to explain how Gravity’s Rainbow predicted 9/11. It involved rockets, but that’s all I remembered. She told me she’d meet me at the Irish bar, but it was too loud, and they tore it down before the end of the evening, something about zoning laws or new condominiums. Everything’s condominiums now; even Duane Reade is building drug store-themed co-ops to sell to insane Japanese businessmen.
I tried to sleep on the train platform, while a guy explained to his wife why their cats needed Roth IRAs. She mostly argued not about the absurdity of cat retirement, but the tax implications about not using a traditional IRA. I got on the F and saw a girl that looked like a doppelgänger of one I let go a dozen years before, intently reading whatever book was hot that week through her librarian glasses on the long train ride to Bay Ridge. This war will never end, I thought.