I can’t write my name anymore. I don’t like words and can’t find the ones I want to use. I don’t like preachers. So I won’t write a sermon. I don’t like homework, aging or wrinkles.
I hate negativity. I don’t like dead dreams. In fact, I was going to either change the entire world , or become a writer, whichever came first . . .
I promised not to preach, but maybe I lied. One of the beautiful things about writing is you don’t have to wait to be asked and you don’t have to tell.
Then comes this desperate moment – this churning moment – that relives itself decade-after-decade and sobers you into the reality of what kind of failure you can actually become if you live long enough and made the erroneous choice of wanting to call yourself a writer: Deadline. D-E-A-D-L-I-N-E as in death. As in do it now or the presses are going to run without you and you’re dead, or at least jobless en route to homeless en route back to Mom’s and “make your bed already, will ya?”
Hello? Write this piece of shit or get canned. Stop calling friends; stop chatting online. Stop making excuses to your editors and professors. If you can’t write, then say that, you liar!
I’m old. I’m back in skewl, to improve my spelling. I’m back in a ditch, a last ditch attempt, to undo this writing-career mistake. Better late than never, then again, “it’s always later than you think.”
I need to get a life. You can’t write without one. And, if you can’t write, without a life, you can’t get a new life without writing a new script. Heed me.
Last night it became evident how bad it’s gotten. I’m typing for a few hours, words flowing like taffy and trying to find, create, steal or deliver one last clever phrase or two, and I knew then, as I do now, I’m not only washed up for life, I should have done what you better do: Study hard. Make an honest living. Stay away from sexual encounters after 3 a.m. Brush your teeth. Protect your credit. Never answer a question that begins, “I won’t be mad if you tell me the truth . . . “ and, never – never, never, never, write for a living!
Well, there’s only one way you’ll understand. I have to show you my latest attempt at a short story. I’ll not change a word, not even the notes, where a writer saves a bunch of so-called sentences and sticks them down on the bottom, to use later. Hint: You’ll never use them later.
Brothers and Sisters, learn from my errant ways. Here’s the rotten unfinished story, in its purest unedited form:
“One more Quaalude, a wet blonde with a wet kiss, some greasy potatoes, and something easy,” is what I thinking when the bus was rolling on toward Nashville . . .
A late afternoon thunderstorm in late August is about all I need, pouring down rain like my tears would if I could still cry. It was that kind of day.
The driver mumbled something as we passed the state fairgrounds’ marquee. We weren’t the Stones, but damn it we were on tour, and he loved the sight of the band’s name, so we loved him. It was sort of like the way people find fame saying they know the cousin of Elvis’ high-school fiancee. We pretended he was part of the band, and sometimes introduced him to a one of the girls we didn’t want. I could tell he’d reached his top, just about the time we were bottoming out, and there were still forty-some more cities and towns before we’d come down or get home.
Every day he minded the road, as I searched for my mind, which was lost or never found to begin with.
I couldn’t help wondering who in their right mind would brave this weather. Tonight’s gig was free, and part of the fair’s admission. Not that I cared how many were out front, I got paid either way. But the ride was an endless mind-fuck on how this weather would prevent me from getting laid.
Billy, the drummer with a down-home shit-eating southern grin and long dirty hair, had a girlfriend or two back home. I once had one, too.
I loved her so much that I decided one day to tuck her deep into a private place where she’d live forever, safely far away from me and promises, lies, dreams and disguises, which became bigger than her belly and part of this highway. I often wondered where she went, and still do from time-to-time.
My problem was the night. Always was, I guess.
It started that way, even if I didn’t know it back then. We were sixteen, and wanted the usual: Fast cars, and all the wet blondes and wet kisses inhabiting an adolescence dream of success and a life that wasn’t like Daddy’s.
Still nobody told me that what I wanted then, would turn into need and I need it tonight.
Now, want had turned to need, like a deep (??), that kept us up so late that the nuns must thrill and ills of fame and we jammed in Billy‘s mom‘s basement until she started charging us rent.
The worries of the morning were meaningless, like me.
Last night was a sell-out at Penn State and tonight would be desolate like my soul had become after years
Being tired, bored, hungry, horny and
I wasn’t even talking to Billy, after what happened the night before at Penn State.
Oh yeah, Billy was our drummer same as always. Controlling the meat of our backbeat was his game and he always stayed loosely unfocused. Like fashionably so; even while our songwriter, a guy who happened to be the lead singer, quit last year to marry a Carolina girl. Billy couldn’t give a shit about anything-easy money.”
It was about the point that I wrote, “the nuns must thrill and ills of fame,” that I realized there’s no longer an operator at the switchboard. In true professional writer style, you’ll notice I never finished the seedy piece of rubbish, but it’s nice to know that “Billy couldn’t give a (expletive deleted) about anything-easy money,” isn’t it?
Notice how I created the word “anything-easy?” You’ll have to learn stuff like that on your own, after you become a pro.
OK. If you’re still not convinced about the treacheries of authoring, you probably still have a thirst and itchy finger to see your byline in print. A desire for adoration. A joining of your soul to the ranks of Shakespeare and Hemmingway.
Without the slightest inclination to preach to you about writing or anything else, I’d ask you to consider where those two bastards ended up from all their deadlines and writing? Dead.
Now, answer this: And, I won’t be mad if you tell me the truth . . .