14.

I have to stop kicking myself.

I know I won’t make 30 days in a row of this. Maybe I promised it. Maybe I’m breaking hearts. I know I’ve had streaks. I know I’ve broken them, already, for three days. I’ve been busy. I work, and I usually type these there, because it helps keep me grounded.

I have to stop thinking of how I’ve failed. I have to start thinking of how to succeed.

I survived a punch. I have to pick myself up and shake it off and keep hitting.

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11. Saturday Night Meditations (II)

Series as chronology. Cultural norms shatter each other all too often. A water bottle made from recycled water bottles. Store heat energy to melt snow. 69 days until Fall. Every child loses their innocence but some adults reclaim it.

9. Character Suicide

I think a lot about what I’ll do to fuck up everything I’ve worked for. I think about whether it’ll be an accident or I’ll do something on purpose knowing damn well the consequences or if I’ll choose the wrong side in a petty spat.

It crosses my mind these days because the writing community at large is policing itself. I can see no problem with this. No problem with calling out stalkers or rapists or wifebeaters or Nazis for what they are: vile fucking people. People I’ve written about on here before. I refuse to associate with any of them. I like to think that I have a moral compass. I like to think I’m a good person.

But so do many of the people who do bad things. Sure; a lot of them probably don’t care about how doing bad things affects other people,and some probably justify it to themselves, but that’s just because they deserve it, right?

I deserve to be punished. I am a broken human being who has done terrible things with his mouth and his cock and his eyes and his fists. People have suffered because of me. My name is a cut on people’s tongues. My name brings up vile in their throats.

The difference between someone who does bad things and someone who has done bad things is an attempt to put it all in the past. I try to be a good person now. I try to let my past go. I try to forgive myself and hope that those I’ve wronged will forgive me: not because I deserve it, but because I want them to heal. I don’t care about forgiving myself. I don’t care about personal redemption. It is selfish to assume that everyone can love me and respect my work regardless of things I’ve done.

The difference between a good person and a bad person is that a good person is conscious of bad things they’ve done. They work towards bettering themselves, if only to be better to others.

Every little thing could come out tomorrow. I could be next on the chopping block. It could all disappear and my name could be tarnished forever.

I’d be ready.

I wouldn’t want to associate with me either.

7.

The only people who never complain about someone not answering text messages are the people who don’t answer text messages.

I would know because I never answer text messages.

Gotta keep my profile up and running.

6. What Now

Half past four in the morning in a dead hotel lobby is about as good a time as any to ask a simple question.

Where is the line between writer’s block and simple laziness?

We will have to define writer’s block first. It is much too late to refer to a dictionary. I will have to invent my own. Writer’s block is a lack of ideas. A stalemate. You don’t know where to move on to next. Or, rather simply, you have an idea of where to move onto, but the idea disturbs you in some way. It paralyzes you. You don’t want to ruin the story. You stop in your tracks. You perform old habits. You walk away.

Maybe you return. Maybe you don’t. It sits there for a time until a new idea comes along. The next step. And you continue.

Laziness is another path. It is not a lack of ideas, but it can surely be found after it. It is a lack of movement that is conscious and which you don’t want to stop. There are other things to do.

Writers before have tried to tell you that writer’s block can be defeated by simply writing on. In theory it makes sense. You can’t stop writing if you never stop writing. In practice it is different. In practice it is unique to anyone who has sat behind a keyboard or stopped scratching a notebook with a pen in their hand.

Writer’s block is two words.

What now.

They gnaw at you. They follow you. They chase you in your dreams and in the back of your mind and mock your apparent inability. It is devastating. It is exhausting. It ruins careers. It ruins lives.

The writers who come before have oversimplified a common solution. They have thought on too grand a scale to push the rest forward.

I offer two words in response.

One step.

Find that one step.

Walk at first.

And when the ground is stable beneath your feet, you run.

5. Saturday Night Meditations

Broken shoulder blades. Bone shattered like glass. Water will never know what temperature it is unless it freezes or boils away. Brain sits red and runs purple. There is no sudden peaceful death. The two meanings of “Fatal.” I am not a face to them. Everything you have touched was made by another working man. The line between cult and religion lies on popularity and time. Grass has an exemplary life cycle.

4. Toast

As a grown adult man who’s lived on his own (that is, roommate-less) for almost six months, I still panic when bills come through. I am still paralyzed by the idea that I am responsible for keeping the electricity on in my own house, instead of giving someone money to take care of that for me and whoever else is stuck living in my presence.

This paralysis – the ever-enveloping fear that I will run out of money – has meant that I’ve put some things to the side for the house. I haven’t bought a new set of towels since I moved in. I use whatever the last tenants left behind to clean. When I run out of gas I cook out of the microwave until I have a stable 150 in my pocket to fill the tank up again.

I’ve lived on my own for over six months and I am yet to buy a toaster. They aren’t expensive, I know. I’ve even shopped for them. I have picked a toaster up and dropped it in my cart. But I have never left the store with one. The idea of spending thirty dollars on an appliance that stays plugged in on my kitchen counter sucking electricity is a terrifying proposition.

I should have money to get one at the end of the week. And I’ll probably do it. I haven’t had toast in a while now. Even though I work at a hotel and setting up breakfast for ungrateful prick is part of my job I have never taken a lonely end slice of wheat bread and put it in our oversized toaster and watched and smelled it cook. I couldn’t put myself through that. I couldn’t imagine facing that kind of failure.

I will be brave with my thirty dollars. I will finally get home from work at eight in the morning and pop two slices in and wait for the ding. Once I am done it will probably sit there unused for another three months because I get bored with food easily.

Wish me luck.

3. Selling Your Work, But Not Sucking At It

As hypocritical as it may seem, I’ve always been fond of people who come up with the strangest ways of promoting their work. Maybe it’s the Marketing major in me – the one who finally realized what he wants to study, before he even tried applying to school again – but it’s always something I’ve looked up to. I don’t mind the stupid ways, that much, as long as you don’t invade someone’s privacy. Unfortunately, most of the stupid ways invade someone’s privacy. Sliding into someone’s DMs unannounced, accepting a friend request just to send them a page or event invite, posting straight on their wall, tagging them and your 357 other friends in a post with a link to your book (BUY NOW!!!) are all stupid ways of getting someone to buy your book. More likely than not you will be ignored just like the rest of us. The literature scene of the 21st Century is not a writer’s market. It’s a reader’s market. You also have more to compete with, although people read more now than they did fifty years ago.

The only effective ways I’ve seen of getting anyone to read your shit come threefold.

1. A recommendation or a blurb from someone the reader can trust. This is where some solid informed reviews come in as well.

2. Word-of-mouth: the most effective advertising of all time.

3. Be good. Write something that sells itself.

All are easier said than done. Good luck.

2.

Day two is always the hardest, someone else once told me. Either that, or I just made it up as an excuse for sleeping all day. Haven’t had a movie night in a while. Finally had time last night. Saw Jodorowsky’s Dune and Argento’s Inferno. Enjoyed both, although Jodorowsky is a dangerously insane human being. Stayed up till 0600 which probably explains today. Haven’t even checked my mail, and it’s bill season. Should probably be on that. Should also be more exciting tomorrow.

1.

Hi.

It’s been a while.

Too long.

While I’ve been gone, I’ve done some things. That book I was working on? It’s done.

Only took another six months, but it’s done. One need to format it and be brave enough to send it out, but it’s done.

I finished it on Halloween of 2017 at five in the afternoon and walked out of the door and knew, immediately, that I was exhausted in a way that I haven’t been exhausted before. I never wanted to look at the page again. It had taken too much from me and there was nothing rewarding about any of it: eighteen months of my life gone, leaving pages in front of me I doubted would ever see the light of day.

I was tired. I took a break. I tried to write again, of course. The first thing I’d made was a handwritten draft of something for you here, something absolutely useless that only helped pour tar over the pothole I’d fallen into. It was December. I was still tired. Maybe this was the burn out that people have warned about before. Maybe this was a sign that I should put the pen down and walk away. Maybe none of this was ever meant to be.

The page never stopped calling but it took time for me to answer.

I wrote again. Some things were published. One thing worthy of my first check as a published author: I guess I’m a professional now, too. Maybe the burn out is over. It still took me more than seven months to start on the next book. I still have too many days where I lay my head down on the pillow and close my eyes and remind myself that I haven’t even made a word. I’m tired of those days. I want to do better.

So I don’t lack drive, or motivation.

What I lack is discipline.

And that’s what I’m here for.

I’ve neglected you more than I’ve neglected anything else. I haven’t talked to you in more than a year. And I’m sorry. You never deserved to get the worst of it. But that’s why I’m here. And why I will be here, eveet day, for the next thirty days. Maybe it will stop then. Maybe this will be difficult and everything will be as disjointed and rambling as it’s been today. Maybe it will be all too easy to write about whatever’s kicking around in my head.

I don’t know, but the idea of not knowing suddenly isn’t scary anymore.

If anything I can’t wait to find out.