Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

wanting pierogies

It’s a beautiful day out, and I woke up early, and I have a wad of cash in my pocket I can spend on anything, but I’m sick. My stomach’s bothering me, and I really want to go eat something bad, a pile of fried pierogies with sour cream or a plate of greasy hash browns and some fried eggs, but I don’t think that will happen. I hate this stomach stuff, and it’s been happening pretty much constantly for the last few weeks. I’m hoping it’s just stress, but maybe it’s a warning sign that I should be paying attention to some of the other problems in my life.

I should be working on Rumored. Marie loaned me this book (and I don’t remember the author or title) and I started reading it last night, and it reminded me exactly of what I wanted to write like. I stopped reading after about three pages because I didn’t want to subliminally rip off this dude when I got back on my own writing. It got me motivated to at least think about Rumored for a while.

The problem is getting some momentum going, to sustain it. I need to figure out the process, how I can get back to writing every night and return to that sweet spot where I can produce golden prose for three hours a night. With Summer Rain, there was this entire process, pages of notes and outlines, the music, the food I ate, the smells I smelled, that pushed me into that creative zone where I could recreate the past with words. A glass of cold Coke, a compilation tape of my favorite songs from that era, and I would be able to work. The problem with Rumored is that I’ve sometimes found that zone, but it’s so difficult. I can get so distracted by music – it needs to motivate me, but it can’t pull me away. It’s difficult to describe, but the setting has to be just right. And I haven’t found that magic combination yet.

Maybe I need to buy a new desk. I don’t know.

I’m also not in the mood where Rumored is always in my head. I need to think of ideas all day long and then write them down. The Palm Pilot is nice for that, but it doesn’t happen enough. I spend my days daydreaming about stupid shit, not thinking about the book. The book needs to be my daydream. When I worked on Summer Rain, it was easy to drift back to 1992, to replay those memories and fantasies and get far too sentimental about old flames and distant days. Then when I checked in every night and sat down at the computer to pound out another chapter or whatever, it was easy to really get into it. I haven’t been doing that now, and I need to.

There was a period in 1998, between Karena and when I met Marie, where I was 100% gung-ho about Rumored. I think it was back when Fear and Loathing was in the theatres and I was watching it constantly and never sleeping and pushing myself with tons of Coke and low-grade speed and food from Denny’s and hanging in this freaked-out state where I was the book, where I ran through reality like a machine gun firing at everything 72 times a second. I wrote a lot of fucked-up stuff back then, stuff that still makes me laugh out loud. I didn’t give a fuck about my job, and I wasn’t a technical writer by trade – I was me, writing. It was a good time, but it didn’t last for long. No heavy reasons, I just couldn’t sustain it.

I have been sober for seven months today. The medicine I just took for my stomach is .5% alcohol, but I don’t think that counts. Besides, it didn’t make me want to run to the nearest bar and get loaded. I could barely keep the stuff down – it tasted like fucking turpentine.

Okay, at the very least, I need to go to the bagel shop on 30th Ave and get something for lunch. Go visit the book site if you haven’t already, dammit.