Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Golden Time

When I think of the golden time for me as a writer, I think of only one time. I know, when I think about things, there are so many good times, there are so many highlights. But there is one time in particular that really rings true.

This time rings true is only a highlight because of the feeling. It just comes down to the feeling. I did not write anything of real value. Well, that's now entirely true. I can think of two things I wrote in the golden time that really make me proud. The first is an epic poem called Winter Rapture. It had to be an epic poem because I was reading a lot of Romantic poets at that time. And the second one was another novel called Masqueras and Munecas. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Stolen US Map and Photograph Bag and Vancouver's Underbelly, Part 2

So, there I was. I was determined to take my revenge out on two things, my liver and the whole town of Portland, Oregon.

I had been struggling. I had been struggling and someone broke into my car and stole my notebook. How could they? I drank and I drank and when I was drunk, I would kick over paper boxes. For those of you who were not around in the beautiful analogue days, there were these things called newspapers, and they were sold in vending boxes. Those boxes were on every corner, that is until I arrived. Then they were in every gutter.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Stolen US Map and Photograph Bag and Vancouver's Underbelly

It was one of those whirlwind times that I think all people get, or should get. I had spent a year without a home, first in Denver, then in San Francisco, then in the wilds of Elbert County, then in Lisbon then Mexico City. It was a long year. It was a long year not because there were more days than in normal years, I just lived more in that year.

It was my intention when the year started to live the total fuck-all year that I thought every writer should have. It was my intention to read a novel a day, write a novel a week and prospect experiences that would last a lifetime of fun barroom tales and countless short stories.

This did not really happen. It did not really happen because there were confines. I worked the summer in Elbert. I had been in San Francisco because of a sick family member. And although Lisbon was fun, I was there with little money and an even smaller amount of the Portuguese language.

By the time I got to Mexico City,  I had been through three small jobs and I was starting to think that I was going to have to find a "real" job just to save face with everyone including myself. But to get things very very clear, I did not want a real job, I did not want to fit into real life and I'm afraid that is still the case today.

But I did get the job. And that job took me away from DF and away from the Peter Pan life I wanted. I went to Portland, Oregon.

I struggled with many things in the early days of Portland. I mostly struggled with the fact that I wanted to be a writer, and I was unable to do so. I was working weird hours, and in the hours I wasn't working I was exhausted or drinking, either way, no words.

I had been writing a page at a time in one of my composition notebooks over a period of several months. I kept my notebook and my personal journal and a handful of letters--some read and some unread-- in a US Map and Photograph bag. I left the bag in the backseat of my car. That was my fault. When the car got broken into and the bag stolen, I was heartbroken. it was not just the burglary, it was the months of pain in the notebook that crushed me.

Then, I went to Vancouver, BC. That's where all the trouble occurred.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Antioch in the Spring

There are those defining moments, and I know you know what I mean.

I had taken a few days in Antioch when I was a young man. I had come from Denver, which in March is so unbelievable winter burned that everything is brown. Sure, there are a few things trying to bloom, but the world is yet to become spring like. At the time of the story, Antioch was a welcomed green sight that I was instantly in love.

Of course at the time of this story, I was still thinking about becoming a botanist. In retrospect, it may have been at this visit that I was finally pushed over the side. The precipice, of course, in the spring of 1996: should I be a writer or a botanist?

I was staying with my grandparents. The beauty of this was that they were not very attentive and I was in my mid 20s. I got to do anything that I wanted with the days. I took a number of walks, which was nice. I got off to the grocery store one afternoon. I had gone to the store only to find a notebook, something to write in. I was having some ideas for short stories which I was able to construct on my long walks.

I was in college at the time. I worked mostly on a word processor. Anything that required me to write, I used recycled paper and I used recycled manila folders to keep my papers together.  I was not a notebook user.

I may not have been a notebook user, but I knew that I didn't like the spiral notebooks. I still don't. the spirals become out of shape and turning the pages becomes difficult. In that grocery store on that day, I bought my first composition notebook.

I have talked about the merits of these notebooks before. The pages are sewn, which gives it a very durable quality. The size, I found to be perfect too. The size is just under the standard 8.5 x 11. This means that they are more transportable too.

Now, so many years later, I have hundreds of these things. I have been carrying one since 1996. I fill, on average 1 to 2 per month. That's a lot of words.

But when I think about the time in Antioch, kin my youth, this is what I think: when you are a writer, you are never lonely and when you have a composition notebook and a pen, you are never bored.