Archive for November, 2008

Got the Sickness

November 12, 2008

Literally.

Ihave started woodworking as a hobby. Something I’ve had interest in for quite awhile but never really got the ambition up for. And then my grandpa died this past April and I basically got a bunch of free tools. I also got a barely stripped beatup old dresser that my grandpa was working on. Feeling strangely determined to make headway on it I stayed out in the shop for four hours or so, may have been five, woth no heat, and worked on sanding the thing into shape and trying to figure out how I wanted to finish it.

And now I’m sick. Again.

I have trouble with bronchitis/sinusitis/colds/flu/etc. They just hang around and nag and, as I’ve gotten older, have been more willing to flare up into hellish mode. Which it has done twice now in the past month. This time it feels like it’s just sorta stuck in my throat. I have dry raspy coughs that turn into fits and then I feel like throwing up. But I’m feeling better. I know I’ll be making progress in the morning if I wake up and I’m not lightheaded and disoriented (I know I know, that’s pretty serious but I don’t have insurance so to hell with it).

And what this boils down to is that I’m not writing at all now. If I’m not outright sleeping most of the day I am in a stupor. And trying to go out and “do” something just fucking kills me. So no writing. And that’s what I wanted to blog about. I got to it eventually. Now back to coughing and sleeping

All of us have a place in history. Mine is clouds.

November 5, 2008

Richard Brautigan is one of the writers that I just get. When I finish a novel of his I’m not always entirely sure what it meant. Or if it meant anything. Sometimes I think they are just what they ar: a beautifully innocent look at the world from a man who, as Ferlingetti said, was much more in tune with the trout in America than with people.

My first experience with Brautigan came with a beat up copy of Watermellon Sugar that I picked up at a used bookstore. The bookstore was probably in Toledo, Ohio but it might have been North Platte, Nebraska. It was one of those purchases that you don’t know why you’re making but something about the fading of the cover or the creases in the binding just draw you to it and force you to take it home. That and it was probably absurdly cheap.

Since, I have collected a copy of nearly every work of fiction written by the man, mostly in the form of massive 3-in-1 collections that you can still find on a Border’s bookshelf, if the store is decently stocked. I have found him to be a writer who gives anything from violence to sex to sitting on a bence in the park an aura of golden wonder. All of the critiques of him saying he was “innocent” are spot on but I don’t view them as drawbacks. Why must good writing not be innocent and wonderous? I have to think the world would be a better place if we all saw the world a bit more like Brautigan seemed to.

Never having read much of his poetry, what I have read is very good and carries the similar bizarre track of his novels. In his pages you won’t find another “Howl” or “Wasteland.” When you pick up “Watermelon Sugar” expect to get “Watermelon Sugar.”

Anyway, I just read “Trout Fishing in America yesterday and wanted to talk about Richard Brautigan. He’s an interesting writer. He shot himself in the head in the 80s and he probably didn’t deserve to die in such a way. But it’s probably better than being eaten by tigers in watermelon sugar. Got some links at the bottom in case you’re curious about some more RIchard Brautigan. And if you’re not, you should click on them anyway because I might have just done a poor job of selling him. So check him out. And enjoy the fishing.

 

Brautigan Wiki

Brautigan.net

Brautigan Poetry

say anything-writing is the most important part of being a writer

November 1, 2008

I got into an argument with a friend yesterday about writing. She says she doesn’t have time to do it, that it doesn’t bring in any money and that she feels guilty about doing it. All valid things but also things that writers pretty much just has to look past such things and write regardless. Maybe it’s just an overly romantic notion of mine that writing isn’t something done for money. Or to even be published. Or be read. It doesn’t matter if no one ever reads what you write. What matters is that you write it. If you want to try to get it published, great, go for it. There’s nothing wrong with that. Success is a good thing. People knowing your name is a good thing. People reading your stuff is a good thing. But it’s not needed. If you’re going to write, you’re going to write. It’s not going to matter what happens to the stuff fter it’s written because you’re going to write anyway.

But then we got to something that I think is the real fruit of the nut: she feels like she doesn’t have any natural gift for the work. And this is something that I have encountered a lot over the years. People like to believe that writers have some mystical power that enables them to string some words together. That if it’s not a gift from God, it’s a gift from genetics. The question of “where do you get your ideas?” is akin to asking a priest what the voice of God sounds like.   It doesn’t matter. We do our jobs regardless. You can do it, too. Writing isn’t about some natural talant so much as it is about hard work and grinding it out from day to day, putting one word after another and slowly moving forward.

And that’s the most important thing in saying you’re a writer and being a writer-writing. You have to put ones on the page. Regardless of what happens after that, this is the first, most important and most critical part. It’s really the only critical part.