The Bible sure ain’t wrong about this one!
The Bible sure ain’t wrong about this one!
I took this a few seconds after Dante discovered a gigantic mushroom in our backyard.
When I was walking to work this morning (technically yesterday) I remembered the last thing I thought about before I passed out the previous night: it was my character Gritt Calhoon on a boat to Antarctica, saying, “O ghosts of fuckin’ mist and ice, guide this blessed fuckin’ vessel to the wastes of the South Pole. May our boots taste that dead earth at first light. Amen.”
My family has asked me what I want for Christmas. I told them I don’t want anything. It’s true! But if they do end up sending me a little bit of money, I’m going to spend every penny of it on my cat, Dante.
I was playing with Dante a few minutes ago, and I picked him up and said, “Listen: I need you, man. You’re the only thing I’ve got. And I’m going to use my Christmas money to get your shots, and have your teeth cleaned.”
He wiggled out of my arms and begged for a treat and I obliged!!!
For the last two hours I have heard police helicopters circle the sky above me. Some of them went downtown, which is where the Ferguson riots are taking place. God bless Oakland, the birthplace of the Black Panthers and Hell’s Angels. Berkeley may have turned into a bloodless utopia for yuppies a long time ago, but Oakland still has the same vicious ghosts living inside it. That’s cool! I’m glad it does.
Building on the thing I just said: I can’t think of a single modern writer who is interesting or has some balls. Especially when it comes to journalists. Where is the weird stuff? And I don’t care about ‘Vice.’ I think ‘Vice’ is gimmicky and put-on.
Remember when ‘Rolling Stone’ did stuff that people actually cared about? Remember when any publication at all featured writing by actual human beings who thought about stuff and experienced stuff and listened to music and read books and drove cars and motorcycles way too fast and stayed up later than 10 pm?
I’ll tell you what: I sure am tired of this generation of writers, and I don’t even know who they are. I can’t really think of a single one. Dave Eggers, maybe? God, that guy. Everything I read now is so gutless and groomed. It’s hollow and dissolves in your hands. It all feels like something you’d take off the shelf at Target. This is a world of ukuleles and granola and haircuts you pay for and clothing taken off the mannequin. Jesus, where are the people? Where is the blood? I don’t know!
I’m going to write things—a lot of things—and put them on the internet for free, on a single domain, under a single name, and hope the right people find it. I want to write the stuff that I can’t find anywhere, stuff that is mostly gone and dead now. And there’s no reason for it to be gone and dead. The world may have moved past it, but it needs to exist. God damn it! What else can you do?
In June I got an assignment to cover the twentieth Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, which is an annual trade show that celebrates / advertises video games. The assignment was given to me by Cara Ellison, a Scottish journalist / critic who had been living on my couch for six weeks. She asked me for a couple hundred words to tack onto the end of her own lengthy piece for Paste Magazine.
So I went to Los Angeles, and I got the “story,” whatever it was, and did a bunch of drugs with my cousin, and slept in the trunk of my car, and lived off coffee and bagels.
It was depressing as hell. We couldn’t even get into the Convention Center. The story I wrote, which I never delivered to her because it had ballooned to seven thousand words, was complete trash, and it was about nothing, since practically nothing had happened. The most fun we had was away from the Convention Center, when we explored Griffith Park at night, and the hills near the Hollywood sign by day, and Venice Beach and Santa Monica on mushrooms. (Also: I stayed at a bungalow with my friend Amy, and later met a girl at the Trader Joe’s in Silver Lake. I gave her my phone number, which she later used! We became good friends.)
I thought, hell, I can’t turn any of this in. She isn’t going to want this. It’s only funny to me, et cetera. And so I shelved it. I nearly destroyed it too.
Lately I have been working on it again. It is over fifteen thousand words. It is insane and stupid and bad. I can’t wait to publish it on the new website I have, which absolutely no one reads, and probably never will read. It’ll be great!
Anyway that’s my pitch. Love you, ghosts of the internet!!!!
I once read an interview with Hunter S. Thompson, and he was asked if he had switched to computers, and he said no, he didn’t like them—he didn’t like how you could go back and change the text. He said he always wrote something as though it were final. If there were changes to be made, he went back later and crammed a new piece of paper in the thing and rewrote it.
This is my greatest issue with writing. I don’t care about any websites. I read almost none of them. I don’t have accounts on any social networking websites and don’t use any services. So it’s not as though I’m distracted. When I sit down to write, I spend so much time fucking around with the stuff I’ve already written. It feels more comfortable than actually carving away at something new. As a result I have dozens of essays and stories I never end up finishing because they’re been edited to hell and no new thing is added.
For this reason I think I will get a typewriter, maybe one of those huge IBM models from the 1970s. I don’t give a damn about those terrible old vintage models everyone always has in their house and pretends to use. I don’t care that it’s quaint, or from an older time, or whatever. I just want a machine that does one thing, and does not allow me to go back and change anything. I want to sit down at the damn thing and think out every sentence without second-guessing myself.
So there it is, whatever it is!
No matter how much sleep I get, or how nice my mattress is, or how well I eat, or how much I exercise, my body always feels really bad. My entire skeleton aches and I have permanent black marks just below my eyes. Also I’ve lost a little weight and I’m pretty sure I have this recurring waking hallucination where time randomly slows down and stutters.
As my hero Scooby-Doo would say: “Ruh roh!”
I have to stop caring about people, have to stop having their lives affect mine so powerfully.