Monday, December 18, 2017

I Hope I Write

Here is a list of things I've done because, I thought, it would make me write more.

1. Reading multiple books at a time. Reading, really, far too many books at once, including a group of books I refer to as my "Daily Readers" which I am supposed to read one entry from per day. While it is true, as I believe Stephen King said, if you have no time for reading then you have no time for writing; it is also true if you spend all the time that could be spent writing instead reading Batman: The Dailies 1943-1946 and An Encyclopedia of Battles and Jughead and Archie Comics Digest, it's possible you'll never get to the writing.

2. Buying fingerless winter gloves. I have not done this. I remember wanting fingerless gloves when I was younger because I thought they looked cool. Then I remember being happy, as a twenty-something smoker, to have a (not really) pragmatic excuse for fingerless gloves. Now, I think buying fingerless gloves will help because now that I'm back to using public transportation, it would afford me the opportunity to write while on the bus. I'm not wrong that it would afford me the opportunity, but I am wrong in my inference that I would use that opportunity, particularly considering it is so fucking cold out I would fully expect my fingertips to break off like the partially melted tip of a little league concession stand Freeze Pop long before I had written anything worthwhile.

3. Porn. No, I have not really thought this would help, but I often do it instead of.

4. Preparing meals long before they're needed. Last night, for example, I prepared today's breakfast, today's lunch, and most of today's dinner. Giving me more time to write in the morning. Of course, instead I have used that time to play my Star Trek: Timelines iPad app on the toilet, long enough that if I don't wiggle my toes while I play, my feet fall asleep.

5. Coffee. I have become a regular coffee drinker. This has not helped at all. But I have something warm to drink, and something to spend more money on, so of course that's always helpful.

6. Developed a stupid schedule. I wake up at 4 am. Every morning. The idea is that it will give me enough time to get some work out time in on the treadmill, to prepare for work, and to write. In most cases I have used this extra time to prepare for work, to watch Star Trek: Deep Space 9, to cuddle with my cats, and to play my Star Trek: Timelines iPad app on the toilet long enough that when I finally push myself up, I am forced to stand in one place for a while and wince while the thousands of tiny little bites all through my feet assure me that the blood has found them again. And porn.

7. This post. This morning I planned to get in an hour of writing and take the earliest bus - 6:22 AM - to work to get in some overtime. As I write this, it is 6:33 AM, and I am still at home. I have told myself that maybe writing a quick blog post would help. Like a confessional. Clear the pipes, Warm up.

Will today be another day I hate myself? Will today be another day I quietly hold everyone around me in contempt for distracting me from writing even though I wouldn't write if I were in the middle of a desert with the closest soul a thousand miles way, even though I know I have had a million opportunities to write that no one has taken away from me? Or will I write?

I have long scoffed at any writer who says they "have to" write. It has sounded false to me. Someone defining themselves by their art and pushing hard to make themselves sound as artistic and full of depth as possible. "Oh, I only write because I must, sir! A blessing? Perhaps. AND A CURSE! Such a terrible, beautiful burden! Such duality! Such irony! Oh that I should be the vessel of humanity's collective creativity! Sometimes I would rather be a simple person! Like you and everyone else who isn't me! Quick, fetch me my coffee and my clove cigarettes! It is time to create!"

But it is not a lie. It is real. I do not always feel the urge to write. It seems like I pushed away every other priority to get a new idea on paper every few hours when I was younger (and of course, when I was younger, calling anything but fantasizing, brooding, music, or comic books a "priority" would have been just plain silly). I do not feel that irresistible urge quite so much. Hardly ever, to be honest.

Still, writing is like a medicine for me. There is a direct, undeniable correlation between how I am doing in my life - in all areas - and the answer to the question: "Is Mick writing?"  If I'm writing, then I am probably eating well, exercising, losing weight, spending money smartly, and working hard. If I'm not, then I'm probably eating shit, gaining weight, giving the treadmill a wide berth, spending money on the stupidest shit imaginable, and calling in sick as many days as I can get away with.

I have to write. Every day, I have to write. Maybe I should do it before anything. Maybe before I shower, before I eat, before I get (or don't get) on the treadmill. Maybe that should be numero uno, as soon as I get out of bed. One hour. I can give myself one hour of writing before I do anything else. And then no matter what the day brings, I've taken my medicine.

I mean, it sounds good, right? Sounds like it might make sense.

Will I do it? Will I get on here tomorrow and tell you I wrote first thing? Or will I do my best to amuse you with humor about procrastination that we can all relate to?

I hope I write. I hope I write today. I hope I use most of the rest of the 20 or so minutes I have left before I have to leave for the 7:29 AM bus to write. I hope I use my half hour lunch break and my two 15 minute breaks at work today to write. I hope no matter what happens, I write.

I hope I will write every day just a little bit, and that eventually I will do it enough that one day I will stop consider my responsibilities to be "real" responsibilities only when a supervisor and a paycheck is involved. I hope I learn to shed my impostor syndrome. I hope I write.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The trick is Anti-Yoga, Journal 10/26/2017


Old thoughts. Old bullshit. Coming back around again.

When things are going relatively well in most areas of my life, the unfinished Fucking Novel rears its ugly head. I tell myself old stories about villains who time have proven innocuous. I don’t have the time, I tell myself. I don’t have the time because of my job, because I am part of the daily commute to and fro, because I am one of the people I swore I’d never become.

The truth is I have plenty of time. I had plenty of time this morning and I squandered it. Last night, I had time, but I chose to read rather than write. There is plenty of time and there has been plenty of time. I could have the novel done long ago, but I have made choices.

 There is this ongoing debate inside me, that at my day job I should only do the bare minimum; as much as I need to do and that I should spend most of my time writing. But I do not feel good about that. I do not feel like that would be honorable or honest. And maybe someone might tell me that my art is my responsibility and that honor and honesty are luxuries I can’t afford. But my job is important to me. What I do or don’t do impacts lives. Someone could lose their food stamps because I wasn’t doing my job. Their Medicaid. I doubt mailing them a copy of my finished novel will do much to help.

Which means I have to be able to bring myself to the page before work. And after. No matter what.

I have to. I have to and I have to be willing to do anything to accomplish that.

* * *

See and now I have these ideas, these thoughts, that happen every time this happens. Like, why don’t I set a schedule? A schedule for every thing, every task. An unshakable, unmovable schedule to govern when I write and when I do other shit. Subject to change only for the direst of emergencies.

I don’t want to continue the cycles that fuck me up, but where is the cycle? Where is the self destructive repetition? Is it in making the schedules? Or is it in not following through? Where was the mistake made? Or, more accurately, where is the mistake always made?

I read that Daily Rituals and while everyone’s rituals and routines are different, most seem to have had fairly set schedules. “He rose promptly at 6:30 am, lay in bed for four hours eating jam and crumpets. At noon he would walk through his garden while teaching one of his young children Mandarin Latin. The afternoon was for receiving visitors and battle axe duels and the evening, of course, was reserved for hunting vampires. For only one sliver of the early morning – from 1 am to 2 – he wrote, and with his own feces.”

Whereas I feel like there’s no way for me to make and keep any set schedule. I bend to the first ask.

I guess the trick is not bending.

Anti-yoga. The trick is anti-yoga.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Journal 10/23/17 & 10/24/17


I’m in a new cubicle and the guy in the next cubicle is pissing me off.

His name is Dan. I have no idea what he does. He isn’t a part of our department. Apparently, there used to be a few departments smushed into our area. He’s the last holdout. He’s balding and dumpy.  Reminds me of the judge from The Wire. The one who kept doing favors for the alcoholic cop and hitting on the alcoholic cop’s love interest.

I hate Linkedin. They send me more emails than anyone. Does anyone use Linkedin? I don’t think I’ve even updated my account for 6 years. I should update it and say I work for Subway. Photoshop a picture of myself wearing a Subway hat. List my title as “Bread Handler.”

Salami Massager.

* * *

From the John Milton entry in Daily Rituals by Mason Currey:

Milton devoted the morning to solitary contemplation in bed…First he had an aide read to him from the Bible for half an hour.  Then Milton was left alone to compose as many lines as his memory could retain.  At 7:00 Milton’s aide returned to take dictation…After dictation, the aide would read to him until lunch was served at noon.  Then Milton walked up and down his garden for three or four hours.  In the later afternoon and evening he received visitors, ate a light supper, smoked a pipe, and went to bed about 9:00.

Apparently there was a time when people could do fuck-all and those people were writers.

* * *

Just found my lost ipod under the passenger seat of my Dodge Caliber. For, like, the third time.

My ipod has been lost and found more times than the singer of a skipping recording of “Amazing Grace.” Pretty sure the fucker’s getting buried with me.

* * *

From Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East by Stephen G. Fritz

Informed of the difficulties, Hitler’s reaction was typical: “Engle will swallow anything he is told.”

No wonder Engle was so popular around the Nazi Asshole locker room


According to Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, the French philosopher René Descartes was killed by change of routine. His favored practice was to “sleep until mid-morning, then linger in bed, thinking and writing, until 11:00 or so.”

Unfortunately, in 1649 Descartes accepted a position in the court of the Queen of Sweden, which necessitated Descartes be prepared every morning to give Queen Christina lessons at 5 am. After a month, he was dead of pneumonia.

There is a lesson here, but not for me. I mean, the lesson is for me, sure, but the meat of the lesson does not speak to me. I have always been adaptable, within reason. I can go from working nights to working days. From driving to work, to taking the bus, to walking.

I think perhaps the lesson here, as far as I’m concerned, goes to my patience with others. I don’t have much tolerance for people who can’t adapt as quickly as I. When one of the entrances to my office building closed off for security reasons, for example, the parking situation changed dramatically because of it, and my coworkers reacted as if the building had been demolished and they were all being asked to relocate to Alaska, I had absolutely no sympathy for them. “Try working downtown like most of the city’s state workers,” I thought, “where you have to pay for parking every day, IF you can even get a spot. Or try taking a shuttle every day like I used to at Riverview. And the drivers were always either stupid, insane, playing gospel music loudly, playing Sean Hannity loudly or very nakedly smelled of beer.”

But they changed this dude’s schedule. And it killed him. In a month.

So maybe I should be more chill about people’s sensitivities to change. A little.

* * *

[omitted for social media drama potential]

* * *

The men’s room closest to my office has five faucets: 4 motion sensor activated faucets and one old style faucet with cold and hot water handles.

Every time I go to the men’s room, the older faucet with the handles has been left not completely turned off, and there is a slow trickle of water.

And every time, before leaving the men’s room, I pull the handle tight to turn it off and stop the trickle.

And each time I do it I feel like Jesus Goddamn Christ.

* * *

It is possible I am reading too many things at once.

I am currently reading It Devours! by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cramor, The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajn, Ostkrieg: Hitler’s War of Extermination in the East by Stephen G. Fritz, From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty, Providence, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore & Jacen Burrows, et al.. Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, and The Complete Poems by Philip Larkin. And, if you can count the novel my girlfriend and I began reading aloud, The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey.

Oh, and lest I forget, Jughead and Archie Jumbo Comics Digest #21.

And that’s not counting any random issues of comics or other periodicals I’m reading.

I mean, sure, there are good reasons for all this reading, but I’m beginning to suspect that main motivation for the thing is compensation for lack of working on the Fucking Novel. I am working on the Fucking Novel, but at a snail’s pace, whereas if I read from 32 books per day, well, I can pretend I’m being productive.

Kind of a more literary version of when I used to play World of Warcraft. “Well, sure I’ve erroneously called in sick 8 times this month and I’m behind on all my bills and I’ve been ignoring my student loans for 10 years and I can’t afford a car…but I got an epic flyer before anyone else in my guild!”

The Fucking Novel is on my mind every day and it has been there, every day, for over a decade. Yet still it is unwritten. What stops me from shoving everything else off the desk and diving into it? Fear? Maturity? Laziness? Distraction? Age? A hipster beard? The chest-crushing powerful sense that I am entitled to less than nothing?

List it all, every excuse you could come up with, and then say what you would say if you had all the money in the world, went to a comic shop, and the comic shop owner motioned to the wall of titles on sale – of every genre and company you could imagine – and asked you which one you wanted.


And then stop caring and get it done.
Very motivational words. I can be very motivational. Following my own advice is another matter.

Because then I get home and just.

You know.


There is so much fucking porn out there.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Your Focus Determines Your Reality

I hate The Phantom Menace. There should be nothing surprising about that.

I don't hate The Phantom Menace because I felt it was rich with potential and horrendous with its execution or because it did not live up to the impossible standards I and every other Mick-aged nerd placed upon it. I don't hate it because of the obnoxious racism displayed in the depiction of certain non-human characters, nor do I hate it because it is simply a bad movie.

I hate The Phantom Menace because it is a bad movie that includes a line of dialogue that is full of wisdom, and which has needed to be applied to my life quite often over the past ten or fifteen or Hulk-knows-how-many years. And it seems a hateful thing for a line of dialogue that is so important to my well-being to come from such a shitty slice of cinema. Such wisdom, if culled from cinema, should only be found in great films. Like Big Trouble in Little China.

The line is, "Your focus determines your reality."

Doomed Qui-Gon says it to Anakin moments after the Jedi Council tells the little boy to go fuck himself, and it is - in part - this wisdom that allows Anakin to become a despotic piece of shit.

Qui-Gon is telling Mini-Vader that it doesn't matter whether or not Yoda green-lights him for Space Hogwarts. "Your focus determines your reality," he says. In other words, follow me, watch me, focus on me and the cool super-shit I do. And one day you will be able to do it. Your focus determines your reality. So it doesn't matter if the Jedi Council lets you in or not. Focus on becoming a jedi, and you will become a jedi, because that will be your reality. And then you will kill everyone. Because you're an asshole. But for now just focus on the jedi stuff.

As my last blog post may have revealed, my mind and soul have not been in the brightest and shiniest and happiest of places recently. My state of being has necessitated an up-tick in therapy, in leaning heavily on good friends who are worth more to me than oxygen, and with a little experimentation with antidepressants (doctor-supervised, mind you, I'm not just trying samples at Macy's).

For the past few weeks, every day has brought a psychic apocalypse. Every day has brought with it at least a few hours in which hope was a cruel joke. And yes I'm aware I live in a rich country and I have many things to be grateful for and blah blah blah self righteous hypocritical bullshit blah blah blah. Depression is not a phase. It is not a tantrum over missing the My Chemical Romance show. It does not ask my permission, and it does not follow rules of logic. It does not matter what I believe; it does not even matter what I know. Suffering from depression, at least as it manifests in me, is like being a Trump supporter: facts do not matter, and they have no value.

I'm starting to get unstuck. I'm living entire days without hating myself. It's tough. It does not feel sure or guaranteed. The gunk hasn't cleared off my sneaker yet. Occasionally my foot gets stuck to the ground, and I'm pretty sure I can pull it free, but if it doesn't pull away instantly, I'll start getting worried I'm stuck forever, that I'm moments away from that darkness that's just starting to wash away.

Romance and dating have not helped. They were, probably, a bad idea. I grew obsessed with getting responses, with "matching," with winning online validation. Some days, I was checking each app at least once every five minutes.

I ended all my accounts, deleted all my dating apps. To my surprise I have managed to stay off of them.

But before I did that, I started dating a lovely woman. And it is strange. Strange for me.

The beginning of dating usually goes one of two ways for me. I go on a date, it does not go well, and because it does not go well I hate the woman I went out with.

Or, the date goes well, and I instantly decide the woman I went out with must become the most prominent person in my life. Immediately.

With the woman I'm dating now, let's call her MJ, things are more, sane?

We had a coffee date. I liked her. She liked me. Wasn't smitten. We didn't text each other every five minutes. But I liked her. We had some good things in common. Had a date a week later.

On the second date, it was clear we still liked each other. We kissed at the end, just a little bit. Again, no super smitten time, but I like her. I think she likes me.

And that brings us to right now. She works two jobs and is very busy this week. I don't know when I will get to go out with her again. I am waiting to hear from her. She does not respond right away if/when I text her. Sometimes she doesn't text me back until the next day. I do not get the sense she is blowing me off, but that she just doesn't text all that much or allow her life to orbit her smart phone as much as the rest of us do.

And it is driving me fucking INSANE.

Mind you, I am not in love with her. I am not even, yet, in lust with her. She is sexy and I like her, but I'm not fantasizing about stuff. Okay, sure, I have and probably will again and in fact just mentioning it inspires some thoughts, but my point is that I'm not constantly hiding my lap because I'm thinking about her or anything like that. It's just that with every other woman I've dated, I've known by this point whether it was going somewhere or not. By this point, every other time, I've already been stupidly in stupid love and just waiting for the woman to let me do inappropriate things to her in order to consummate that love, or I have moved on. Or she has moved on. Two weeks and two dates? Only one date per week? Maybe fewer depending on how busy she is this week? That's like the speed of erosion. Like waiting for the New York State Senate to pass a budget.

And it is driving me fucking INSANE.

All I think about is will she call me today? Will she text me? Should I call her? Should I text her? If I call or text will she think it's nagging? If I don't call or text will she think it's neglectful? What if this doesn't work? What if we keep taking it slow and then after 32 years with only 5 and a half dates under our belts she decides she likes the kid who bags her groceries better? Should I be dating other people? Is she dating other people?

It's all I think about. All day. And I'm fucking tired of it. I can't take it. I can't endure it. It's fucking torture, and it is the definition of useless. I have no control over what she thinks or feels or plans. Doesn't matter. Facts don't matter and have no value. I go home and I hate myself and I am sure that I will die alone and, more importantly, live alone. My cats crawl on me and I assure myself this is the only love I will ever know, and then I watch 98 episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Because if I won't, who will?

There is a question, a valid question, that I have been asking myself and I haven't been willing to admit it: What in my life is worth living for?

With as whiny as I can be, you probably wouldn't believe that it's something I haven't admitted, but it's true. Sure, when my depression grabs me, when everything becomes hopeless and worthless, I may psychically cry out, "WHAT IS THERE WORTH LIVING FOR?!?!?!?!" but it isn't a real question. I already know the answer: Nothing. I have nothing to live for. That's how I feel, at least, when I get that way. I don't think it's true right now, but when the hate and the sadness and the anger and everything Darthy has me, yeah, that's what I think, so the question is meaningless. It's a rhetorical question designed to do nothing but drive me deeper into the muck.

What I haven't been willing to face is that in my moments of relative sanity, I'm still asking the question, and in a way that means something. I actually want an answer, because I think maybe if I find the right answer, I won't need to ask anymore.

So I'm going to focus on my writing.

I'm going to write in the morning, I'm going to write at work, I'm going to write after work. I'm going to write on computers and if there's no computer, I will write on notebooks and loose leaf paper and post its and napkins and my arm and eggwich wrappers and bathroom walls. I will write when I hate it, when I want to do nothing but write, when I want to sleep, when I want to watch Netflix, when I want to play on my ipad and when I want to jerk off. I will write, write, write, until I fucking hate writing and then I will write until I love it again, because the alternative is not acceptable.

I don't know if my writing is the answer to what I have to live for. Maybe it's something else. Maybe in order to find something to live for, I will have to completely change my life. Maybe my life will have to undergo a revolution leaving my unrecognizable.

But whatever it is, whether it's writing or not, I know my cats and my Netflix and my ipad are not enough. I know whatever there is to live for cannot be found in the heart or mind or sex of someone else. If I have to search beyond the writing, I will, but I'm going to start there because it's what I know and it's the only thing I've ever wanted to do.

So. Yes.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Tomorrow is Yesterday: A Year Since the Surgery

Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the surgery that carved cancer out of me, and I've been waiting for it to come and go so I can get the fuck on with my life.

Once the summer around here actually started looking like some kind of summer, my senses were busy bringing that time back to me. The first time I walked past my air conditioner, the cold air hit me in the face and something about the smell of it reminded me of the hospital after the surgery. And suddenly, in everything but my body, I was back there, waiting and praying to find the spot where the pain would go away, listening to the Jamaican PA hum gospel songs while she cleaned my bed, begging the anesthesiologist for something that would help the pain in my hip and having more trouble than I anticipated convincing him that no, I actually don't drink at all, I just haven't slept for two days, and that is why I'm hallucinating.

The happiest sound in the world was the sound of Amanda's anklets jingling. When I heard them coming from down the hall, I knew that would mean she would be there soon. She loved me. I loved her. And by the end of the year I broke up with her.

The year has not always been fun. I broke up with Amanda, I started dating Elaine, I broke up with Elaine. I can look back a year at the Facebook posts when Amanda was updating everyone about my surgery, and half the people throwing their thoughts and prayers at me wouldn't piss on me if I were on fire now. I lost the friends I had through her, I lost the friends I'd introduced her to, but I didn't die of cancer. And I don't have cancer.  So it can feel silly to complain.

Along with the smell of the air conditioner, other things brought me back to that time. Pains in my hip and back have returned, only briefly, just as friendly reminders. Like they thought I was throwing a reunion. My scar hurts every now and again. Because I spent so much time recovering from surgery in my living room recliner, a couple of weeks ago I rearranged the living room completely, in the hopes I could be there without being reminded of the pain I was always in, of the breathing thing I was supposed to use a couple of times per day that Amanda always nagged me about, of Amanda on her ipad or knitting on the love seat next to the recliner, of long days of nothing but hip pain and walking and being afraid.

I don't know if that's been at the heart of what's been going on with me. Maybe. I don't know. Regardless, my mind has not been a kind companion.

I've been calling them downturns or divebombs. They come mostly on weekdays, usually during the second half of the work day, and they are usually accompanied by thoughts of dating and companionship.

The world becomes a giant trap, an arcade of despair. I become a sore thumb, and the world is nothing but hammers. I am nothing. I am an insect. I am useless, hopeless, worthless. I will die alone, but more importantly I will live alone. I am unlovable, undesirable, unwantable and unfuckable. I am the Headless Horseman and Quasimodo and Frankenstein's monster. I am a cautionary tale. I am a joke. My life will serve as a punchline. I am an ant living in a world of giant, mean children with magnifying glasses and no lack of sunlight. I sit in my cubicle with my head in my hands. I sob on the drive home from work.

It gets to the point where I can just do nothing really. Bingeing doesn't even help anymore, even if bingeing was still a thing I'd be willing to do. Getting shitfaced might help for a couple of hours, but I go to enough fucking meetings. Who needs more?

I can sit in my recliner and I can watch Star Trek. That's about it. It calms me down. It makes it so I can sleep. So I can have the energy I need to go through it all the next day.

So I'm getting more therapy. Different antidepressants too.

I tried dating again, and then stopped, and then tried, and then stopped. Online dating makes me insane. It all but confirms my worst fears about how women see me. I want to stop doing it, want to forget about it for a while, but then I know I will still be miserable. I will be living in a world with all these lovely women with the their legs and their smiles and the wake of their perfume and every day will be me in a world full of something I can't have, and it will make me miserable and make me hate everyone and everything for being more beautiful than me.

You want to think the cancer scare will necessarily ignite some kind of life affirming Hollywood bullshit, right? You want to think it will make you appreciate life in a way you never could've before, like you were living with a film stretched over your eyes you didn't even know was there, and then the realization of death peels it off and suddenly the world you're taking in is some kind of HD you've never truly seen. You suddenly know what's really important. What really matters.

But it's not automatic apparently, and that makes you feel even shittier. Like, you're the one asshole who doesn't win some kind of spiritual rebirth from a tumor. You are not the star of the movie, someone else is the star of the movie, some guy in the other room who's giving away all of his money and wants to do nothing but, like, peel potatoes for the homeless or something, that guy is the star of the movie. And the movie will be named something with a verb, and then his name. Like if his name is George, the movie will be named Finding George or Saving George. You will not be a star in the movie. You're just another asshole who might die.

I am getting better. I hope. The cancer is gone, and I'm fighting the divebombs. I'm writing. I'm exercising. I'm getting out of my apartment. A little.

The truth about me that I find so horrible to admit is how much I actually need people. I have spent most of my life as a loner, but not because I didn't want to be around people. Because my childhood proved to me that they wanted nothing to do with me, so eventually it became more comfortable to pre-emptively separate myself.

It feels bad to be disconnected. It feels like nothing you do is real. Like you are the sound in the forest that no one hears. And if nothing you do is real, why bother doing?

I want to be life affirming. I want to end this loud and roaring. But the truth is I'm scared. The antidepressants make me drowsy and the lonely makes me sad and angry. I don't want to go down the road the divebombs want to take me down.

What's truly fucked up, seriously, is that as it's happening, as I am telling myself and believing all of these shitty things - that I am utterly undesirable, that I am worthless, that I will live and die alone, etc. - I know it's not true. I know it. Really. I know I'm desirable. I've noticed women noticing me. I can smile at a woman I don't know and feel confident she'll smile back. If they let me try, I know the sounds I can get out of them.

But during the divebombs, it's like a Trump rally: facts don't matter. To admit to myself that I'm okay, that I have a lot to offer, that anyone in the world would want me; it feels like a fairy tale. It feels like a delusion. It feels like I'm trying to convince you that Gal Gadot and Scarlett Johansen are feuding with each other over who gets to text me nude shots.

And, you know, I don't think it's really about that in the end. It's not about women or dating or self esteem or whether I will live alone or die alone. It's a wrestling match with that simple question of what is the fucking point here, man?  Why do I endure? I am connected to no one and nothing. I live for cats.

I am making more money than I ever have. I'm losing weight. The clothes I just bought because my older clothes were too baggy are, themselves, starting to get too baggy. On the outside, things couldn't be better.

To mark the first anniversary of the surgery, I'm getting a tattoo tomorrow afternoon. My first. I'm commemorating the surgery by paying someone to cut into me and give me something that will never leave.

Seems redundant.

Monday, July 10, 2017

I Hate Rope

A lot of times it goes like this:

1) Someone at work says something insulting in regards to my weight. They do not see this as insulting. They see this as good natured ribbing. This includes most of you. No, it does. It really, really does.

2) I initially receive this comment with the appearance of good humor. Once the exchange finishes, I reflect on how much I have grown for such a comment to not immediately darken my day, my mood, and everything. I continue with my work. Or, if appropriate, my avoidance of work.

3) As time passes during the day the comment gnaws at me, acts as indisputable evidence that my worst fears of how people see me are true, that no matter how much weight I've lost, no matter how hard I've worked, no matter how much I've faced, to everyone with breath and life and eyes that work I may very well be many things, but I am - first and foremost - fat. If I write a novel too good for a Pulitzer, if I climb a mountain too high for eagles, if I kill a dozen hookers and bury them in my basement; before I am novelist or a hero or even a serial killer, I will be fat. The fat writer. The fat mountain climber. The fat serial killer. The fat guy in the office. Fat, fat, fat.

4) It suddenly occurs to me perhaps I have not grown all that much because the anger and the sadness are all going in the same direction they always do; it's just at a nice simmer rather than a raging broil.

5) I hate everyone. I hate myself. I don't want to be in the world.

It was my intention to blog today. I wanted to blog about writing. It was not at all my intention to blog about my issues with self image and weight. However, I thought maybe if I blogged about that instead, I could cut the usual cycle off somewhere in the middle of #3. Or maybe #4. Anything, as long as I don't get to #5. I am convinced if I keep getting to #5 that #5 will kill me one day. That eventually, as Norm MacDonald recently put it in a stand up special, it will be time to go to the rope store. And I don't want to go to the rope store.

Unless they have some comic spinner racks. That might be cool.

Or if I need rope for something other than the implied activity. Like kidnapping. Or LARPing Pitfall.

Friday, May 26, 2017


A friend told me the first draft is really Draft Zero, and as far as my Fucking Novel goes, he's been proven about 63,000% correct.

My second draft is unrecognizable from my first. The first draft I wrote from first person POV in past tense. Draft two is from third person, present tense. Draft two will unfold differently and there's really no way to explain that without explaining the entire novel, so I'm not going to do that.

Suffice to say, Draft 1 and Draft 2 are like third cousins. Technically, they're related, but it's still totally legal for them to fuck.

Not really sure how the end of that metaphor translates, but whatever.

Thank Hulk I'm not in regular contact with any third cousins. Otherwise, they'd read that and, well, shit, who knows? Maybe they'd swipe right. And that could be horrible.

So anyway, back to writing. Yeah, so Draft 1 and Draft 2 are unrecognizable to one another. I originally assumed my second draft would, yes, include some rewriting, but it would mainly be editing, rearranging, lots of cutting and pasting. But no, I've pretty much started from scratch. That's why Draft 1, as my friend said, was really Draft Zero. You have to get Draft Zero out. Draft Zero is the loud, obnoxious fart you're embarrassed about in the public restroom right before your true business emerges.

Cousin fucking and defecation. My analogies this morning are precisely what you want to think about when you're eating breakfast.

So, a while back I got to a part in Draft 2 that is probably the most like Draft 1, but still wildly different. It's a long flashback. And as I was rewriting it, I decided there was a minor character in Draft 1 I wanted to make more prominent in Draft 2. Part of what I did to make the character more prominent, was to start writing a faux journal from that character's perspective.

Somewhere around 50 pages into this journal, and I realized I was putting what was essentially a long flashback in the middle of another long flashback.

So I cut out all the text from the journal, saved it in a different file, and promised myself I'd get back to it but that right now was the time to keep going with the original Flashback 1, so I could get to the other end of that and back into the present. In turn, that made me think, maybe I shouldn't be working on the flashback at all.  There were some things I wanted to add before the flashback, and in fact I was considering maybe introducing the flashback a little later,

And this, my friends, is why I am learning when it comes to writing the first and second draft of a novel, which are really - as my friend correctly said - the Zeroth and first draft of a novel - I need to just lay the tracks as fast as I can and shut the fuck up. No looking back because that goddamn train is coming.

The truth is that what makes this hard is You. Or, to be more accurate, the absence of You. I have been working on this novel, on and off, since the presidency of George W. Bush. I have had 6 girlfriends since I started this novel. Four jobs. One surgery.

And I am desperate to share it. I am desperate to get other people involved. You don't write a novel so you and only you can marvel at your fucking brilliance. But in workshopping the novel in bits and pieces, I have learned that it's not time. It's not time because feedback, at this point, can do nothing but hurt my process. And that's not the fault of the people offering feedback; it's just how things are. Any feedback, no matter what it is, no matter how it leans, will make me want to go back and change things, and after 13 years of working on a novel, going back one more time doesn't seem very goddamned productive. So while writing Draft 1/0, I promised myself I would not show it to anyone until I'd finished Draft 3. Draft 1/0, would be to just get it the fuck out of my head. Draft 2 would be to start seeing a real picture form. Draft 3 would be my first concerted effort to make it a presentable, coherent whole. Then, and only then, I would show it to people. And I still think that's the best way to go.

But it is so goddamn difficult to do something like this when no one else is involved. There is no validation, and in a way even though everyone in my life is very supportive, in a way it's almost impossible for anyone to truly be supportive because no one really has any idea what the fuck I'm doing. I certainly don't.

That's why this blog, I think, is important. It's the only way I know to get other people involved or invested in it before I'm done with Draft 3 which, at this rate, will need to be either handwritten or typed on an old school clackety-clack typewriter because civilization will fall and rise and fall again before I'm finished with this motherfucker.

Writing novels is hard. I'm glad I'm doing it. Finally. But it's hard.

I'm going to put that journal back in and move forward with that. No, it doesn't make sense to put a long flashback in a long flashback, but fuck it. None of you guys get to read it yet. I mean, none to you guys not in the NSA get to read it yet.