The Wanderlust Misfit

Don't Run From Anything, Run Towards Everything

Archive for the category “Words About Writing Words”

NO MORE INTERNET FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF MONTHS BECAUSE THIS IS THE WORST DISTRACTION FOR A FEEBLE UNCONCENTRATED MIND THAT HAS EVER EXISTED SO, IN THIS VERY LONG TITLE, I AM SAYING GOODBYE UNTIL EARLY 2013 SOMETIME BECAUSE I AM NO LONGER GOING ON THE INTERNET UNTIL I HAVE THIS BOOK FINISHED. WELL, I’LL PROBABLY POST THE REST OF THE REASONS TO RUN STORIES, BUT THAT’S IT!! NO MORE INTERNET!

For the time being, while I’m writing The Road Paved With Madness, I will cease most all internet usage. I can’t focus if I’ve been on the internet, too many sites and ads vying for my attention that when I go to write, my mind wanders, helplessly.
I must stop using the internet during this period of writing because the internet, as well as television which I have already limited, diminishes concentration and focus: spreading sunlight across many diverse lands dilutes the total power of light that can fill the one important land which you to intend to explore and develop.
!!STOP GOING ON THE INTERNET WHEN WORK NEEDS TO BE DONE!!

I will not be posting on this blog, save for any short-stories I may finish during this time, until I have finished this novel.

When I return in early 2013 here’s what you can expect:
– The Road Paved With Madness as a PDF and on e-readers, and in your hands!
– Blogging about hitchhiking
– Blogging about living on the street and all this may entail
– Blogging about vagabonding, including something furtively titled ‘The Poor Man’s Travel Guide’
– A new, contemporary remake of the Declaration of Independence
– Lots of anti-establishment vitriol
– A new form of surrealistic short-story, furtively called ‘Scene-Flashes’
and…
well,
to sum it up I’ll be living on the road, traveling and rambling and writing writing writing. My plans are to take my time hitchhiking back out to Los Angeles, seeing the Pacific Northwest on my way there, and, upon my arrival, reclaim my bed behind the bushes and then strike out to meet as many writers, artists and wanderers as I possibly can.

Also during 2013 (hopefully), visiting Rainbow Fest!! and all other exciting adventures I can’t yet fathom!!

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The Writer’s Mire

Last week I fell into a rut, a mire of self-pity that glooms the senses and dulls the wit. These ruts have been occurring with some frequency since last November when I first began writing, though the severity of these ruts has always varied. This last one was probably the worst, just from the length of it.

It all began on the 1st of December, a Saturday night. I’d written well all week and again on Saturday and I was feeling for a break. I drank a bit of parents’ liquor, bought a pint of vodka and went over to a friend’s. We went to the bar and I stumbled home in the fog around three in the morning.

That’s what kicked it off, because the next day I was hungover and I didn’t do shit. The unproductiveness had begun. It’s like you’re speeding down the highway and all is good, momentum carrying you right along and you’re writing well. Then out of nowhere the pavement turns to mud and you get stuck, and once you’re stuck you lose momentum and you learn how true the Law of Inertia really is, because once you’re stuck it’s pretty ugly to get unstuck.

Anyway…

I languished for a week, wanting to pound my head against the wall and lamenting my sorry wordsmith-ing. I believe I was able to get a story or two out, but nothing of significance. I tried to change it up, going to the library, etc, but my libido had disappeared and I got grumpy and for a couple of days there I was just an asshole which, actually, had some positive affect because the reason behind anyone’s ‘asshole-ishness’ is a weak ego — so you’re an asshole to boost your individual will. Like a Red-Bull for my self-esteem it was a quick boost and then a nose-dive.

For about a year now I’ve recognized, as a common factor in these bouts of languish, a certain loneliness. This isn’t to say I’ve been without friends, but since I’ve begun to write I’ve realized a potent need for camaraderie, a close group of fellow writers or anyone, really, motivated by discontent; other artists and vagabonds. Writing is a lonely profession, and it’s all too easy to get lost in the voids of your thoughts.

This is when I drink.

I get mired in self-pity feeling as though I’ve gone the wrong path, should’ve stayed in school and my writing isn’t anything special, I’ve been misled by my own delusions. Bottles bottles bottles. I start to drink to erase these thoughts and, also, it helps me pick around in my brain — back in Columbus sitting alone at the bar, getting disastrously slopped and filling pages pages and pages with introspection. I’ve found this to be a near panacea of mental discordance.

That was how I spent this Monday. I’d grown sick of self-pity and I needed to get out of my head and the only way to do this is to dive right in (my head). So I told my mom I needed twenty dollars to buy writing supplies and I bought a notebook and a flask of Southern Comfort and spent the night drinking and thinking and listening to music.

I knew I’d been here all before and that the only way I’d ever gotten back out was by writing; that in writing I was able to find my true ego and develop and maintain my own libido. That’s where I’d gotten, but it wasn’t so easy to get there. Once you can’t write the Law of Inertia holds true and if you force yourself you reinforce your pity because it always turns out that what you’ve tried writing here is never any good. But there was a way to right my head and I made myself a list. Here is…

A List of Things To Always Know:

1.) I am a genius     (narcissistic? no, it’s a necessity and it’s one I got from Kerouac’s Technique for Modern Prose.)

2.) I have a natural tack for clear, descriptive writing

3.) the novel is wonderful story need’s telling

4.) my future is success

5.) after I finish the novel I will take to the road and worry about nothing and I will write and enjoy simplicities of life

6.) after this novel I will find the friends i know I must meet

7.) focus on the wave I wish to ride and know with all of me this wave will bring true desired future

But, and here I’ll botch a paraphrase of Yoda — do not become so blinded by the future that you can not see the here and now, for now is what is important and now I must write. I need to read all of this tomorrow because I’m drinking right now. It’s become that the most of what I write are but attempts to sort out my own confounded thoughts. Understand the need to place faith in the flow, Love the wave you are on and be confident and excited.

Back to Jersey

Well, I’m back home in New Jersey. I’ve been here a couple of weeks, slacking off on my blogging save for the occasional short-story — which seriously, I’ll be having them out quicker, I swear!

Being home’s been kind of a speed bump, or more like tires stuck in thick mud after speeding down a highway. I’ve had a blast, seeing my home-town friends and getting irresponsibly drunk at the new bar that’s opened up in town and reconnecting with people I haven’t spoken with in years (though I can’t recall the conversations I’ve had). But still, I’m living at home now, and being in such a comfortable, quaint cozy place sucked out of me the urge to run, which is where I get my drive to write. The house I live in is very clean and proper, peachily decorated with knick-knacks and supplied with all of the modern technological distractions one could have. I have a large family, and we’re all squished into a small house. There’s always a lot going on here, and putting off writing to play the videogames I grew up with or to watch Star Wars and The Walking Dead all day — these distractions are difficult to endure, and being at home takes away my restlessness, fills me with content and the laughable tendency to lounge in comforting luxury. Indolent is what home makes me.

The above is a list of reasons I needed to get away to write; to live in minimalism, with nothing to do but to write. That’s what worked: having absolutely nothing and knowing that to ever have anything, the only thing to serve this end, would be to write. Having all the homely comforts I grew up with put a sludge on me creatively, motivationally. Over the weekends (that included Sunday) for the last couple of weeks I went out drinking, getting deliciously drunk and would spend the next day wallowing around the house with only a hangover to rationalize putting off work. Then I fell into a slump, rationalizing the slump with more bullshit. Then more drinking. Then Thanksgiving, more drinking, more bullshit rationalizing, and then the fear immobilization took hold. Thankfully. I realized I needed to get going again.

The best way for me to get back into writing? Get moving. I’ve been writing in a small room in the family basement, using earplugs to drown out all the noise from upstairs and a sheet serving as a wall to keep me out of sight from all the people walking back and forth. So this morning I got up and went right to the public library, my old ‘between the book-shelves’ stomping ground. I wrote well, and I’m pleased how it went. I’m filled with motivation again. Writing and moving has got me doing just that: writing and moving, productivity and the motivation to pull into existence the future I so desire.

This will continue to be a challenge for me though, and one I haven’t put myself to in a while. I will have the constant threat of complacency, bred from at-hand comforts and entertainment and easy intoxication, the whole of the time I am at home. And I will be at home until I finish these stories and this novel — only then can I get back to the road.

The time to discipline myself has come high and urgent. I must be out of here early enough to begin working, so that I might save enough to take to the road with enough money come the thaw of winter. It’s a race against time, and the discipline I must put myself through can only be of benefit. Each day I must have done a draft of a short-story, with the goal of having a Reason To Run published, at the very most, every other day. I need to blog every day. As well as comment on other blogs, that being the only important way to get traffic. I need to study, reading and analyzing other writers. And I found an online magazine called Vagabonds, an amazing publication, completely free and all about the re-emergence of literature in a new form (and the breaking away from that ever-more restrictive society you sheep are lost in 😉 )

I’m back to work! And it feels very, very good.

Second Night Camping Outside In Los Angeles

The marina in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles looks like a tree. There is one main waterway used for coming in and out and along this are several branches on either side. Along one of these branches is a public promenade, brick with a lovely view of all of the yachts. There is an apartment here, an upscale apartment building about ten stories tall and the length of two football fields. The buildings are lined with tall, thick bushes that have an overhang above them. I posted yesterday that I had found a way into these bushes and that there is a good four feet between the bushes and the wall. This is where I am going to be sleeping. There are lights every so often that are placed in the dirt and behind one these lights there is somewhat of a hole, a place where the branches of two bushes don’t quite meet. This is where I slipped in. Last night I got to the promenade around ten, waited till the coast was clear, heaved my knapsack into the bushes and threw myself in right behind it. The bushes are up on a four foot wall that has these green, squishy plants (I have no clue what they’re called) that droop over the wall. I crushed these somewhat and I’m hoping no one notices. I climbed in to set up camp. I have a tarp rolled up with my sleeping bag and I decided to use this to keep me out of the dirt, lying my sleeping bag on top of it. The tarp crinkles like every other tarp and I had to stop and be still whenever I heard people coming by. I got myself set up, grabbed my copy of A Farewell To Arms, my notebook, the roach and candy and crawled back out of the bushes and found a bench on the promenade that overlooked the marina. I re-rolled the roach, got stoned, and had something akin to a panic attack. Here’s what I wrote while sitting there:

There is a long dock in the marina lined on both sides with white, showful, fifty foot yachts. On the glittering stone dock just beside each lazily rocking yacht is a knee-high octagonal column. These columns have small yellow lights that show the beginnings of the arms of the dock which people use to access their yachts. As I’m sitting here writing I am alone. My sleeping bag and other belongings are behind the bushes that line the apartment to my back. This is a very proper, upscale promenade of little, manicured dogs and sweatless joggers. I can’t wait to see the reactions I provoke when I crawl out of the bushes in the morning.

    I’ve been thinking of a plane ticket home. It sucks out here. The vagabonding, at least. Perhaps I need to meet other vagabonds to show me the ideas. Or maybe I just need to dive into it like all the jumps to the fringe I’ve taken. I still have some money left and the real fear is this running out. I’ll see how it goes tomorrow and decide whether or not to wait this out until I find a job. Or if I should try to repair things with Marcia and be open with and see if she’ll let me stay till I get a job and therefore a room.

    Also, very importantly, after smoking that roach from the sidewalk I became sickened about the thought of living on the street. It was anxiety, the nervousness, that helplessness; that feeling that juggles in your stomach. All this disappeared when I began to write. Writing, which I do from the Universal, restored my Individual. This is very profound, because does not the Ego come from the Id? Did not the Founder of Hell fall from Heaven?

The point from this is that I was feeling as though I had lost control, as if I were no longer in control of the events that carve my destiny, therefore helpless. I felt without a will. Writing vanquished this feeling. Writing restored my Ego. I find that very interesting.

Distractions and Doubt

I came across an awesome post this morning that really got me thinking. Here’s what I had to say:

“I think that for a person to truly write, all distractions must be done away with so that the writer can having nothing but writing on his mind. This entails what you called the ‘drastic lifestyle change’ — taking the plunge. I find it hard to do something else when I know I need to write and this makes it difficult to keep even a part-time job. That said, I’ve ditched most of my possessions, college, profitable work, and much of my social-life (bridges don’t so much burn as they do fall apart). I now have nothing left going for me except for writing. Nothing left to do but to write.

And here is my only remaining distraction: Was the plunge the right idea? Did I totally fuck over my life by putting everything on the line for the small chance that I might actually become a successful writer? Is it time to act like an adult, get a real job, and like everyone else place my only passion as a hobby?
Doubt. It’s the only distraction/subtraction so corrosive that it kills all creativity.”

The only way I’ve been able to rid myself of doubt is by believing that I have done right, by having faith in what I’m doing.

Love your life and the path you have chosen. Fill yourself with incredible ecstatic joy for what it is you are doing. You have chosen this. Fall in love with your life, because the only way you can bring about the future you desire is to have endless love for the world you strive for. And once you do this, creativity will make your blood tingle. And it won’t stop.

(This is all potently narcissistic, and that topic I’ll save that for another post.)

Struggles

Writing has become a job. I have taken to view it as something that I must do, my work, and that is the antithesis of creativity. I have to release myself from the boundaries of ego and only write because I want to, not because I have to in order to reach a goal. And here I would like to make a distinction of categories of desire: there is desire of the id, that which you must do, and desire of the ego, that which you want to do. Live without wants, and only with musts — I can only write when I feel the animalistic need to, not the egoistic motivation that strives men for success.

Carving Phrases

‘She sat with her legs turned under her,’ I was reading Ray Carver because I stole a big book from the library and that’s what he said. And I got to thinking that’s what I like about writing: coming up with words and phrases that describe things you’ve never heard described before and it always feels great, when a line of words comes up in your head that put something so clear as ‘she sat with her legs turned under her.’ It’s something you’ve seen a thousand times but never spoke because the words weren’t there, and in this way the writer creates not just ideas but opens possibilities for everyone and the whole magnificent world because now that you can describe it that something becomes more real, like a piece of ice floating in the river it’s been given shape and you’ll always have that now and you’re going to be sitting ‘with your legs turned under you’ a lot more now.

Oh, and I found another creative writing group in Columbus, heading there in like 15 minutes and I’ll write about it later. Here’s the webpage in the meantime.

The Story of Life

Why do I feel I need to write stories where the meaning lies deep, hidden in the brush and that I must make the reader dig for the truth? Why did Hemingway believe that a good story was like an iceberg, where at the surface was only a small part of the meaning and the vast majority of meaning was beneath the water, so to speak? Why is it that all Chekov stories make the reader think and dig to understand the meaning of the story? I’ve tried to rationalize all of this and the only conclusion I can see is a congruence to the meaning of life: the greater mysteries of life and the Universe are mysteries  because they are not clear and easy to see; to understand life you must dig deep, and I think this is reflected in those great works of literature.

Dropping Mountains

The majority of work I’ve done since mid-November has gotten me nowhere, will never see a printed page. But that isn’t to say the bulk of this has not helped me grow as a writer. 50-some odd pages I wrote for the novel, and not one will be used. I wrote five chapters and decided to scrap it all, to rework the entire story-line.

What did I learn from all this? How to write. How to sit down and write through for twelve hours. How to sit down and focus and hear or see nothing else but the words of the Universe that sits in my head. I learned how to find a flow, how to write consistently in a single voice, with a single style, with a certain groooove. (Perhaps I’ll post some excerpts.) I wrote five god-damn chapters and scrapped them all. Sometimes you must dig halfway through the mountain, watch the whole fucking thing collapse, and realize it’s much simpler to climb over the rubble. It’s annoying, but you realize that what you’re doing is all the better for it, that without the disaster failure would have been much more tangible.

I did finish a couple of short stories though, I’ll post them after this. One is called “Citizen Whores” and the other is “StreetWalks” and I’ve just remembered about “Reasons”.

“Citizen Whores” is politically charged, which is where I find lots of energy. It’s a trip though, and I kind of saw it as a graphic novel in my head first, with lots of attention to detail, the settings and appearances of the characters. I would like to continue to write politically charged stories, because, again, this is where I find a great deal of my energy, in the simple yet sublime idea that the purpose of being human is the power of choice. I’ve lined up a few story-lines about small government and libertarian policies, but the roadblock I’ve driven up to is my own desire to write a realist, minimalist short story, something that drives a poignant point but with such subtlety as that you’d never expect it. With such themes as those I plan to write, it’s hard to script a simple, realist story — the ideas are too complex. How do you subtly convey the idea of states’ rights in a simple, realistic dialogue? I’ll give it whack I suppose.

Cliff Notes To Hell

  SPOILER ALERT — DO NOT read the following if you’ve yet to read or finish George Orwell’s 1984. —

    Fire Nikki Moustaki and Gilbert Borman because I am pissed at them.  

    Cliff Notes sparked some anger. I’m a third of the way through 1984 and they mention how Winston gets arrested. Are you serious! They were explaining Winston’s dream when O’Neal tells him that they’ll ‘meet where there is no darkness’ and they completely, I mean with no room to misinterpret, come right out and say this foreshadows them meeting in prison. REALLY!! You can say that the literary device is foreshadowing, thankyou, but to tell your audience WHY it is foreshadowing WHILE they are presumably IN THE MIDDLE of reading the novel?!? Why would you do that to a person?! Oh, well, his dream about the field foreshadows him and the mysterious girl Julia falling in love. REALLY? The last time I use Cliff Notes, period, end of story, since I already know what it is. Cliff Notes doesn’t even give you a head’s up, there are no ‘foreshadow’ sections, it’s right in the paragraphs explaining the rest of the literary devices used by the author.

Perhaps Cliff Notes should gather this advice if they regard retaining customers a good business plan: Don’t spoil novels. People use Cliff Notes, Sparks Notes and company as supplements to their reading, to make sure they don’t miss important meanings and symbols, to study the literary methods of the authors; to learn how to improve their own writing. Your customers read these notes in tandem with the novel the notes pertain to, there is little point in reading them once the novel is over you stupid, idiot, fuck-ups. Ugh!! Why would you ruin 1984 for me? Why? Is it a cruel joke? Do your respective sexual organs tingle when you drop conspicuous novel spoilers right in the middle of fascinating interpretations of scenes? Go blow hard. Spark Notes has found a loyal customer through simple lack of competent competition. Fuckers.

After Post Addition: There are also a lot scenes, dialogue, phrases and hints that scream significance yet are never analyzed or even briefed. Cliff Notes, after using you for only a single book I’m going to go ahead and say, ‘You suck.’

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