I always remember that Charlie Rose interview with David Foster Wallace, where DFW says he received a grant and would take the next year off. And Charlie Rose says something like, “So what will you do with that year?”
DFW says, “I will probably write an hour a day and spend eight hours a day biting my knuckle and worrying about not writing.”
Do you have a god damn story to tell or what, you son of a bitch? No? Then take your hands off my dick and hurry on home. Also, you’re no longer invited to my birthday party.
For years and years I have bribed myself into writing by saying, “We could take a bath, you know—really think about what we’re going to write before it is actually written.”
“We”, of course, because I am a million terrible flavors of human crammed into one body.
The most dominant flavor says, “Yes, let us take a bath.” And off we go, because the idea of being entombed in hot water sounds preferable to having to dig around in the dirt, so to speak, to try to write some damn thing that basically no one on this entire planet is going to read.
We get comfortable and stay awhile. Sometimes there is music and sometimes there are mostly harmless substances. Maybe we don’t even form a single sentence up there in our head. Maybe we just rot in our own fluids.
Writing this now instead of writing about our friends in Nashville. We convinced ourselves back in November that it was important that we write this. Important for whom?
Does any of this feel good? Not really. But then hardly anything does anymore.
“Have your fun while you can, you cocksuckers!” said Grandpa. “You’re headed to the great black nothing someday soon—just the same as me and everyone else! So go on! Destroy the world, why don’t you! Kill what is good! Eat people! They’re all cannon fodder anyway! Take it and run, baby!”
I have seen the patterns, have seen combinations of them put together like Lego bricks
And it’s all just math and probability
Every configuration has been realized
Then you just wait
Circling the drain is made easier when all sentimentality is flushed out
And god knows we all want that drain-circling to be easier
the star sailor
lifted one leg
then the other
and took flight
aimed himself nowhere
saying, “god, i feel
like a rained-on duffel bag
full of vampire feces”
and exploded into moondust.
It escaped from me, or was ripped from my body by force, this sentimental feeling
God, did it used to torment me . . . watching the clock and imagining it going backwards
And now there is no more of that
I look at something and accept its inertia and eventual uselessness
Death will come in some form sooner or later and I’ll think, “Yes, that is how it is for everyone and everything”
Because if time doesn’t eat it, the white-hot flames of doomsday surely will
(Whoa: did I just write that)
Two weeks ago I took my friend to the airport in his own car so that he could fly to Indianapolis for Christmas. As he was leaving he told me it was OK if I drove his car while he was gone.
I have driven that car a few times, mostly to listen to Afrirampo and Ningen Isu very loudly while zipping down black empty California highways after midnight.
Last night I went to my friend Delicious’ house in Dogtown and we celebrated Part 03 of our “Dudes Done Wrong” movie marathon. We watched Only God Forgives (★★★★ (out of four)) and felt tremendously weird and amazing afterwards—as if we’d been gently held at the hips and lead through a psychedelic hall of mirrors while the echo of many hundreds of heartbeats reverberated off the walls. It felt like looking into the face of something that could potentially unmake everything . . . stepping behind a wall of skyscrapers only to discover they’re made of cardboard two inches thick.
It was nearly 1 A.M. and I told Delicious that I was going to try to make it to the In-N-Out Burger by the airport before they closed. Just then I wanted a grilled cheese “animal style” and a side of fries more than I wanted anything else on earth. He lead me out and I darted across the street—no one in sight, very eerie—and hopped in the car. I put on some of that good music and ripped down the street like a screaming psychopath.
I got there just before closing and the line was long. The lady taking my order said, “How you doin’?” and I laughed. I said, “I’m all right, I think” and she said, “That’s good!” Then there was a moment where we just listened to the air and the little static-y hum of the intercom system, saying nothing. “Did you want some food? We got some food,” she said.
I told her what I wanted. It cost four dollars and nine cents. She told me to pull around to the first window. I pulled around to the first window.
At the first window I gave a kid a five-dollar bill and he handed me ninety-one cents in return. At the second window, the lady I had spoken to before gave me a bag of food. It was heavy. I could hardly believe it had cost so little money.
I drove home. I was blasting some heavy stuff and eyeing the faraway lights dotting the Berkeley Hills, way the hell over there. I thought, “God, California is great.” I thought about telling someone that and decided to keep it to myself.
When I got back into Oakland proper I realized I was having so much fun that it almost made me feel paranoid simply because no one was telling me not to have fun. I genuinely thought, this much fun can’t be allowed . . . someone is going to kill me or ruin this on purpose so I can’t have any more fun.
I ate my grilled cheese and fries while watching Minority Report. I had been watching it in short bursts. It had taken me all week and I’d finally gotten to the last thirty minutes.
Afterwards I did a bunch of push-ups and went to bed alone. I had the longest dream I’ve had in over two years. It was also the fourth dream I’ve had in two years. It wasn’t a good dream. In it, someone was mad at me. I don’t even remember who. It felt real. When I woke up I was sad. I didn’t want someone to be mad at me, even in my own dream.
Today a robot from my credit card company called me and said they were automatically removing an erroneous late fee from my balance, and that no further action was required on my part. The robot was very polite. I never even spoke to a human.
It is 1:30 in the afternoon and I have already drunk a half-gallon of tea. I have not yet seen the sun and probably won’t until it’s already setting over San Francisco.