Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath


It’s oddly quiet here today.  I guess it’s always this quiet, but I usually have music going.  I’m sick today, not as sick as when I had a fever of 103 a couple of weeks ago and was wondering aloud if cats believed in angels and if we should go to the Hallmark store and buy a bunch of angel pictures and glue cat hair on them and give them to our cats as christmas gifts, but sick enough that I didn’t feel like I could write about cloud computing for eight hours, and would rather drink heroic doses of nyquil and sit in bed and read Jack Kerouac books for the millionth time.

Now I’m on the couch, which is my usual writing place, although I still don’t have my computer back from the shop, so I’m writing on my old computer, which is proving to me the difference between the Macbook and the Macbook pro.  The keys in this keyboard feel more sloppy, and having my hands rest on yellowing white plastic instead of industrial anodized aluminum is giving me a real You Get What You Pay For lesson.  Even if it isn’t ergonomic, and I don’t have my big monitor and my freaky Kinesis keyboard that doubles my typing speed, I like sitting out here where I can get some sunlight and relax in the all-white loft and try to think about this book, although not much thinking happens when I’m sick.  (And no, this isn’t the same flu I had a month ago.  I had a bullshit appointment the other day at the hospital, and I’m sure I ingested some new virus there.  I also saw some really cool DANGER:RADIATION signs in a hallway and didn’t get to take a picture, so I’m also pissed about that.)

I have to go to New York in March, and the quiet and the sunlight made me think of my old apartment.  It was almost never quiet in New York, although I guess I learned to tune it out, because now when I go back, and it’s three in the morning and I hear taxis honking and trash trucks doing that reversing beep-beep-beep shit and the car alarms and sirens and whatever else.  I never really had this kind of quiet in that apartment except right after a good snow.  A few times, I’d wake up early in the morning after it would snow a foot overnight, usually to stumble to the bodega and get another gallon or two of coke.  There would be almost no cars on the road, few people walking, and the usual gang of Jersey Shore wannabe idiots would not be standing outside in the snow.  But also, all of that snow became a huge sound baffle, absorbing the echos and ambient noise, like a giant thick blanket on the ground.  All I would hear would be the crunching of my feet through the thick layers of white.

I never had this kind of sunlight in my old apartment either, but I never wrote during the day, so that didn’t matter.  Back then, I only wrote at night, after work, after falling asleep for a few hours and then eating dinner.  I never wrote in the mornings, always woke up late and hurried off the work late.  I read something about Bukowski writing at night, maybe something he mentioned in Women or a short story, about always writing at the same time at night, just like his old night shift at the Post Office.  I did my best work at night, so when I was single, that’s when I did all my typing.  I used to try to keep regular hours, from nine to midnight, although I think in practice that didn’t always happen.  But when it went good, it would go much longer than that.  In Seattle, with no cable and no TV and no VCR and only a crappy 14.4 modem to the world, I’d keep at it late into the night, and on Friday nights, I knew I had it good when the sprinklers down on the ground floor, seven floors below me, would kick in and start spraying the grass at 4:15 on Saturday morning.

The schedule’s different now: married, in bed early, working east coast hours, and I’m now writing in early afternoon.  But not when I’m in the NyQuil zone.  I think I’m going back to bed, to read more Kerouac and avoid the facebooks for a bit.