Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Journal mold

I keep reading John Sheppard’s tumblr, which lately has been chock full of awesome short little bits of not-fiction about his life, and it makes me wish I could spin up some yarns here, especially since I ran out of ideas for blog entries in about 2007.  One of my wise ideas was to pull out my old paper journals, and look up some of the wacky stories that happened back in like 2000 and expand those a bit here.  So I pulled out a big fat spiral, entitled “11/30/99 – 2/3/01”, cracked it open, and immediately had an allergic reaction from the dust mites.  (How should I be storing this shit?  Encased in acetate, in a room with all of the air pumped out and replaced with nitrogen?)  Then I looked at a few pages, and was somewhat dismayed at all of the entries.

I mean, it’s good I captured this stuff, especially because I lost all of my email from a big chunk of 1999-2000, when, like an idiot, I did an rsync backwards and cloned a copy of a blank laptop hard drive TO the hard drive on my PC.  (Backups?  Yes, that’s why I still have the stuff from 1999 and earlier.  I now back up every second instead of every year.)  But the problem is, so many of my days were similar back then.  Basically, pick and choose x items from the following list, and that’s my average day in 2000:

  • Work sucks.  (I worked at Juno at the time, and we were either hiring mass amounts of people from ivy league schools who had never worked in computers, or having massive layoffs, sometimes both at the same time.)
  • I skipped work today because I was up all night last night and can’t sleep for shit.  Sleeping all day today sure will fix this.
  • Ray just called and spent two hours complaining about some inconsistency in a Godzilla film that was produced on a budget of about $7.
  • I’m on my way into Manhattan to spend some money on books or DVDs that will make my empty life feel complete, except the piece of shit N train is broken and I’ve been stuck for the last 45 minutes.
  • I just finished eating 6,000 calories of cased meats and fried pirogues at Kiev.  I wonder if I should get in shape.
  • I just wrote someone on an online personals ad and she wrote back and asked to see five years of W-2 forms.
  • I should buy a drum set.
  • I should buy some land in Montana.
  • I should buy an abandoned loft.
  • I should buy a car.
  • I should buy an air conditioner.
  • I should buy more books and DVDs.
  • I need to write.
  • I need to edit what I wrote.
  • I need to go to Kiev and get some pirogues and edit/write.

One of the thing that surprised me the most about catching up with 2000 was the general level of my depression.  I know I was depressed back then, but I found some entries from that summer that were damn near suicidal, long digressive essays about trying to come to peace with myself, how to find what the fuck I should be doing with my life.  I was on the verge of 30 then, and moved across the country to be with someone, and when that didn’t work out, I couldn’t really get into the swing of dating, but also couldn’t be alone.  I’d spend long periods of time talking to nobody, except maybe to phone in a delivery order at the diner across the street.  I spent that entire year in therapy, taking various medications, seeing doctors and shrinks and buying self-help books, and the closest I came to resolution was deciding I could be happy if I bought a stereo receiver that decoded both Dolby Digital and DTS movies.  I often feel like I need to someday write a book that details these feelings, then I remember that every book I’ve written already covers it.

The other thing that I did enjoy while digging through these dead trees was the editing work on both Summer Rain and Rumored.  SR came out in 2000, and I spent most of the first half of the year doing the final edits, getting everything ready to send off to iUniverse, and it’s fun to see the daily notes about what chapters I finished or how many pages I had left to red-pen and correct.  Once that went to print, I toiled on Rumored, which took almost two more years to complete.  I was obsessed with word count at that point, and every thousand words I poured into the manuscript was a major triumph.

The one strange disconnect to this whole process is that this online journal was actually running for a good chunk of 2000, and there are some decent entries there.  Granted, what I wrote publicly and what went in the private paper edition was often very different, but there’s some good stuff there.  Check out Extreme olfactory triggers and strange nostalgia for a good example.

Okay, speaking of, gotta go write.  No Ukrainian food is on the horizon (weight watchers) but I do need to get this next book going.