Thursday, October 06, 2005

Why Write

What makes me think I'm a writer, what makes me write? An inexorable sense that I'm never wrong, ambition, vanity, self-loathing mixed with a superiority complex, lack of everyday work skills, a propensity towards complex speech, an ability to boil thoughts down to sentences, an ear for dialogue, a wish for poverty, more ambition, self-deception, anxiety, anxiety, anxiety, a hyperactive imagination, a brain incapable of shutting down any thought entirely, wishful thinking, illusions of grandeur, subtle creative victories, the desire to catch a moment in time and eternalize it in a way no one would think of - for better or worse...

I've been writing creatively on my own since fourth grade - at the time it seemed like the thing to do - and I've told people I'm thinking of becoming a writer since high school. Most of that time I've thought I'm a terrible writer, with 1% liberally sprinkled throughout of thinking I might be pretty good. That entire time I've been overcompensating for all of the social anxieties and depressions that come with most writers. There's a line between castigation and praise, and at seperate times and from seperate people all writers want both things. One woman I know said she wanted to write novels "for the masses," and it made me bristle. On one hand, it seems awfully presumptuous, and on the other, it seems to be shooting too low. I want to write because when I do it right, I fucking enjoy it.

I would get annoyed in college at people who said "I'm working on my first novel," but you have to start somewhere. It was a sense of competition, jealousy, derision... I still get a little annoyed, but not when I'm worried about what I should be - what I'm doing as a writer. I have scorn for people who say they have no time for literature, but will go on to list Dickens and Twain and Hawthorn as their favorite writers. I have scorn for people who don't read literature. It seems the most inessential of the things to study in college - save communications - but it is the greatest mix of what you might hope to learn, the most poetic example of rational thought, and the most transcendent ability, along with music-making, known to man. People don't read but they watch Survivor. I do not buy the argument that it's a thoughtless passtime. Many people will argue persuasively for their favorite castaway. How is that utilizing the brain in a different way from arguing over text? Intellectualism is scorned in America, because it is assumed to be elitism. I don't think I'm elitist. I think I'm passing time.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Attempt To Slaughter Tom Wolfe

Well, I have shifted gears to "Martin Luther King Day or Black and White Town." As soon as I'm done with it, I'm going back to "1. Christmas Eve," and doing my first major revision. That is the edition I'll show to people who are interested. The theme coming out now is that of two people in a relationship and both are trying with all of their power to control one another. It will be heartbreaking, funny, and touching. And here I'm not even considering the hot fucking scene(s). Then, it's back to Marty King and doing my first full revision of that, hopefully after I've read some books on Soulard's history and some recent articles thereof, as well as other research that I have not even begun to consider yet. Third, tentatively, is "President's Day," but the crux of that story takes place in a newspaper editor's office, and, I'm not so sure that's logical on a national holiday. That story will be a scathing critique of music snobs everywhere, but also of music ignoramuses, because I don't like to kick myself when I'm down if I can't kick anyone else.

But all of this is not why you're reading. You want to hear how I came this close to slaughtering Tom Wolfe with my bare hands. Well, I'll tell you.
Azure skies greeted me that Sunday morning, as I walked out of my house and into my car. Perhaps not coincidentally, as I drove out of Edwardsville, I thought of my previous attempts on Tom Wolfe's life, and how they all came woefully short. The man is agile, and can gnaw his way out of snare-traps. One tranq dart alone is not enough to bring him down, for the surge of Wolfeian adrenaline counteracts the sleeping agents, and he is only made angrier. No, it would take luck, not just guile, to best him. John Updike once said the best way to slay Tom Wolfe was to eat an herb that makes one see time in slow motion, but by all accounts, this herb is an urban myth. It would take can-do, rolled up sleeves, and the aluminum bat in my car to shatter his abnormally shaped skull if I stood a chance. There had been tales of him snapping attackers' necks with one hand, but the source from whom I heard this was unreliable, at best. What I'd heard of Wolfe, half was legend, half was myth. If not for my own eyes, I would scarcely believe he exists, and can run one hundred meters in nine seconds. He is an evil beast, but quick witted, and sharp-tongued.
After my excursion to Nantasket, the last time I tried to spring Tom Wolfe of this mortal coil, I'd gotten the idea that perhaps aggression was the wrong route. I plotted to get his guard down, to apologize.
Having driven exactly thirty minutes, I reached the pay phone in a heavily populated area of St. Louis. I typed in the designated number.
"Hallo?" that familiar voice said.
"Who is this?" he said.
"Thou rogue!" he called out.
"Wait! I wanted to apologize."
"Is that right, chap?" he said, immediately ameliorated.
"Yes, I have come to the conclusion that to murder you is wrong."
"Why, that's capital," he said.
"Yes, I must say," I said.
"I had been tracking you, in fact. See me waving? I'm at the hot dog vendor."
"Oh, yes," I said.
"I was to stick this shank into your throat as you exited that booth."
"Well, lucky for the both of us I called, then, hm?" I said.
"Yes, capital idea."
"Well, I'll get off, let's shake hands," I said.

I approached him with a smile, as he did me.

"I was researching a book I am to write on the ills of your generation when I saw you on my GPS tracker," he said.
"Ah, I forgot to sweep for it today."
"Yes, I thought this would be my break, the better with which to kill you," he said.
As we shook hands, I noticed with great consternation, his left hand reaching behind his handsome white suit jacket for a sliver of metal, the shank. Spritely, I shattered his right hand with a karate chop, and rolled just away from the shank as it would have struck me in the face. The harsh light of inevitability shone on his face, as I pulled out a New Yorker, and read the review of his latest book. Reduced to tears, he would have made easy prey, had he not prepared a smoke bomb with which to make his getaway. As I gagged and coughed at the employment of the smoke bomb, the slaughter of the Wolfe became a distant memory. However, I had the upper hand, and fear would follow him at every turn.

Fantastical? You bet. Poorly written? Got me there. Who didn't want to see how it ended though?

New Appointee

Great, our new Supreme Court Justice is Emperor Palpatine.

No experience as a judge, her number one attribute is that she is close to George W. Bush. I can't see how that can go wrong, cronyism being favored over experience. It worked for Ulysses S. Grant, right?