Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Book meandering

It’s Monday, but it’s a bank holiday, and I have the day off, so life is good. And in about two hours, we will get in a car for LGA and fly west to Las Vegas for a week, and I will again celebrate my birthday (Friday, the 20th) in the land of gambling, no open container laws, and all-you-can eat buffets. I actually don’t know where we’re staying, and it is a complete surprise that will be revealed to me when we actually drive up to the hotel for check-in. So that should be interesting.

The second journal book has already lost steam and been but aside for now. I still want to do it eventually, but I’m just not in the mood to slog through it right now. I’m trying instead to get back on another project I’ve been messing with for a year or two, which is basically a heavy metal version of John Sheppard’s book Small Town Punk (which is getting re-released on IG this year.) Maybe that isn’t a good comparison, but I want to write something about growing up in the late-eighties in Elkhart, Indiana, which was such a beat area where people could never escape and everyone was at the mercy of these huge manufacturing plants that paid okay money for menial labor, but basically killed you in the long-term. And because the whole thing revolved around the economy, and the economy was shit back then, you had mass layoffs and strikes and mandatory overtime and cutting corners on safety and everything else.

And as a 17-year-old kid, I didn’t fully appreciate that situation, but what I did see were the side effects. Kids with one parent who worked 60 hours a week at a trailer factory ended up becoming burnouts, and the people who had a daddy that was an executive vice president of some RV place had the rich lifestyle and basically lived like those executives at Enron who fucked everyone over. And the whole city looked like shit, except for the gated communities, and everyone latched onto whatever fad or abusable substance or religion would promise them a moment of feeling appreciated.

Of course, the book is not about that, but mostly about a kid trying to get laid, and listening to every Metallica album constantly. And it’s not autobiographical. I think I always said that Summer Rain was 80% true, and I think this book will be closer to 30-40%. Many of the main characters are composites, and will have to have big parts of their lives altered to fit the timeline and story. Part of that is that the book has to contain a certain amount of sex, drugs, and alcohol, and none of my friends back then were getting much of any of those, and I wasn’t either. Plus I’m finding it impossible to write about real people anymore without pissing someone off because I’m not 100% glowing about them. The characters need to be real people who fuck up and do stupid things, or it won’t be a good book, so I’m diving more into the fictional realm to do this. But the setting of Elkhart will be there, in full hilbilly glory.

Not much else is going on here. I got one of those Newertech drive enclosures for the Mac Mini and it’s pretty awesome. It looks just like the mac case and sits under there, and has Firewire and USB hubs on the back, plus a 160 GB drive inside. I haven’t had time to start filling it, but what’s also neat is that it has some stuff on it already, like shareware and a bunch of Apple commercials and episodes of The ScreenSavers in QuickTime.

I didn’t leave the house all weekend, which was neat. In fact, I don’t even think I put on shoes once, except to go downstairs and pick up laundry one time. We watched a lot of movies and basically sat around, since we’re going to be running around all week and eating too much and spending lots of cash. We watched a lot of movies, mostly. Meet The Fockers was okay, and The Ali G Show was absolutely hilarious. I also got an Amazon gift certificate and plowed through that last night, mostly ordering house books on wind energy and underground houses and stuff like that. I’ll have a whole pile of stuff waiting for me when we get back.

Okay, wish me luck!