Monday, February 27, 2012

Incessantly Written Down: The Conclusion

I do get that vague feeling that this is never going to end. This writing, this life as a writer and these thoughts will not end. I get that feeling that no matter what I say, what I do, what comes my way, I'm still going to be incessantly writing it down.
Occasionally, I fantasize about the end of this. The fantasy is not a sordid one. It's like this: one day, I wake up and I never think about writing ever again. It is not a good feeling nor is it a saucy fantasy. And it is a fantasy which will forever go unfulfilled. I don't know why I'd consider it anyway. I'm going to be doing precisely this until I won't physically be able to do it anymore.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Incessantly Written Down: OJT

Several years ago when I got into the restaurant business, I did it for the money, not for the love of food or service. Discard any romantic notion of service industry workers. In the past, or possibly in some places, the partier or the burn-out still prefer restaurant work. This sort of work still appeals to students. But, for me, all those years ago it was still the money.
I got to Marlowe's in Denver because of my dear friend Jeff Fagan who worked there. I was broke, brokenhearted and nearly out of luck when I ran into Jeff. “Come down to Marlowe's,” he said. “Sunday. 11:30.” The rest, they say, is history.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Incessantly Written Down: Fear

Please write it down. Do not be fearful. Do not be afraid of what others think of your words. Do not be afraid of poor spelling. Do not be afraid of punctuation. Do not be afraid of lack of flow of thought. Do not be afraid of republicans, democrats or tea-baggers. Do not be afraid of the thoughts of others. Do not be afraid of your own thoughts. Do not be afraid of your own words. Do not be afraid of Arabs, Boatswains or Czechs. They have writers too who grapple with the same fears as you do. Do not be afraid of high unemployment, rising food costs or inflation. Do not be afraid of your fluctuation in weight. Do not be afraid of loss of sleep. Do not be afraid of getting too much sleep. Do not be afraid of CFCs, BPA, STDs. Do not be afraid of comets hitting the Earth. Do not be afraid of what God thinks. Do not be afraid of ignoring what your parents think you should do. Do not be afraid of time. The days are long and the years are short, deal with it. Do not be afraid of wasting time. Do not be afraid of spending time alone. Do not be afraid of giving too much. Do not be afraid of giving too little. Do not be afraid of life being the way that it is. Do not be afraid of things that don't really matter. There are too many of those things to list here, and it is a waste of time anyway.
Have no fear and confidently go out into the day and write it all down. Write it in your personal journal, write in your notebook, use a typewriter, a computer, a hi-tech gadget. Write sentence fragments. Write poetry, fiction, reflection, essay. Write a letter to someone you really love but don't see often enough. Write a letter to someone you really love and see all the time. Write a Haiku. Write down each and every thought you've ever had. Just do it all without fear. Do not be afraid of the opportunity cost. Know that you have the right to express yourself and you can write it down. Know that there is always an opportunity cost. We say free speech, but there is a price to everything we say, everything we write. Do not be afraid of the outcome.
Fear is what will kill a writer. A fearful writer self-censors, self-edits and self-doubts. A fearful writer may never put a pen to a page. A fearful writer apologizes.
Lose the fear and write it down. If today you lose the fight, make a good effort and tomorrow the fight gets easier. Make no apologies. Have no fear of this process. And for the last time, write it down.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sown and Sewn, Part V: The Halfway Point

Everything in life, so it seems to me can be divided up in the first half and the second. It's also been of notice to me that the second half always goes faster than the first. For instance, when moving, loading takes longer than unloading. The first half of that bottle of gin is grueling, and the second half vanishes too quickly. With notebooks, the first 100 pages takes twice as long as the second 100. I wonder if life is the same way? If I'm 39 now and the average age for modern American men is 78, will this last half go by faster? Good things to think about as I've made my way through to the halfway point of The Errors of Fabric.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Incessantly Written Down: Experience

On occasion, I get to relive Intro to Creative Writing. It's a workshop where the narrator is reacting to the feedback of classmates. There is a reference to the story that has been written, shared and then gravely misunderstood by classmates and instructor alike. In this Intro to Creative Writing, it's really l'esprit de l'escalier, or stairway wit. It's the replay of “what I should have said...” The occasions when I relive this Intro to Creative Writing happens during my shifts at Umbrella Factory Magazine. When I read this sort of story I know two things about the writer: this writer is probably still a student and this writer lacks experience. Not writing experience, but rather life experience.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sown and Sewn, Part IV: Denver, 1993

I want to be known as a Denver writer. A Denver writer. I still consider Denver home. Denver serves as a backdrop for so much of my work. I suspect that at least half of my manuscripts thus far are set in Denver, Dysphoric Notions for sure. Mapping Generic Streets and Gun to the Head while not explicitly stating Denver, are the feel and descriptions of her and her environs. Sand and Asbestos, although a fantasy of the nasty world we're headed into, is Denver and the western mountains. And now, The Errors of Fabric, Denver, acutely so with addresses and defunct businesses, is the most Denver yet.
The other novels? Well, they're mostly set here, Portland, Oregon, where I live.