If “smart” bloggers need to be told that there’s a difference between “their” and “there,” it’s just a matter of time before the video gamers, illiterates, brain-dead jocks and the Jens of this earth simply swoop in and take over. . . . → Read More: “10 Writing Mistakes Smart Bloggers Make,” or Why Writing As We Know It Is Dead
The thing about Twitter is that I can’t truly express how I feel about Twitter in 140 characters, though this item clocks in at a mere 139. . . . → Read More: More Matter With Less Art
This blog entry is about me, or the lack of me, or the unfathomable reasons that I have not existed the past six months–Bookfraud, the blogger, not Me, the Man Behind Bookfraud Who Wants to Believe He Looks Like and Gets as Much Action as George Clooney But Looks and Acts Closer to Richard Dawson After a 72-Hour Bender.
It starts like this: When I think of something being "perfect," in the Platonic sense of the word, in that representation is the enemy of the real, in that nothing that can be written, sung, painted, or performed on stage can ever match the Form in which it imperfectly represents, I think of Bach and Glenn Gould.
(Stick with me here.)
I am of limited intellectual capacity and lesser patience, but if a recording of Glenn Gould playing "The Goldberg Variations" was playing in a car, and that car was speeding at 100 miles per hour about to run off a cliff, and if you were to drop me in the driver’s seat, the car would surely dive over the cliff unimpeded because I was thus transfixed. My favorite composer is Beethoven, my favorite pianist is probably Vladimir Horowitz, my favorite rock singer probably Joey Ramone, but if I had to pick one recording that puts me into a state of hypnosis, it’s Glenn Gould playing Bach.
Now, the last time I wrote regularly in this space, I had a different job, lived in a different city, did not suffer from pestilence or pain. And when I actually wrote in this space at all–that being in August–Tiger Woods was still known as a golfer, when Jay and Conan were still friendly, the Supreme Court had not officially put plutocrats in charge of the United States, and we associated Haiti with a simply terrible history, overwhelming poverty, and helplessness.
For this golfer, perfection no longer entails making a hole in one
I consider those (relatively) stress-free days of 2008 in which I would check four or five blogs each day, usually at the office, without fear of prying eyes or corporate overlords, the latter of which was spending most of its time trying to figure out how avoid government indictments which I can happy testify was not on account of my actions.
No, looking back, I can see when the decent into non-blogging began: when I got laid off last year. I didn’t succumb to depression, nor did I lack subject material or desire, but it was time, that evil crook, which took everything away from me. That, and perennial, pathetic exhaustion.
After our fun-filled trek across this great nation of ours to relocate for a new job, I find myself somewhat settled in. My job keeps me busy, not that I’m complaining, and I am dutifully going to the pool to stave off the knee implants at least until age 60. Totster is entering daycare, Wife is complaining about my fill-in-the-blank fuckup but just every other day, and I have grown bored with surfing the Web for scantily clad ladies. Or naked ones, for that matter.
You talkin’ to me?
What has been hampering me–nay, crippling me–has been this nagging sense of imperfection in all of my deeds. I sit down, intending to write or blog or tap out a sentence of . . . → Read More: The Blog That Ate Me
Wife, who doesn’t read this space, claims that my posts are too long. And I don’t post enough.
"Why, my readers are sophisticated, literate thinkers who appreciate a long, reasoned sober argument," I replied. "In addition, whenever I try speaking at length at home, you cut me off."
But, as many things Wife has said, this got under my skin. So I’m going to try something completely different. For the next three days, I’m going to post three times, with each entry clocking in at about 300. The "333" plan will commence today (see below). They’re less "posts" than a buncha brain farts, but if I don’t write about them here, Wife will be forced to listen to me expostulate on these ideas for the next 40 years.
Bookfraud cubed. QED.
INTELLIGENT DESIGNED DISPROVED IN 300 WORDS
The great debate over so-called "intelligent design" as a competing theory to the theory of evolution by natural selection ends right here, right now.
Intelligent design posits that life is so complicated that only a higher power could have "designed" our natural world. (If you’re not laughing, it’s because unlike me, you don’t have two bum knees that seem to have been designed by a gas-station attendant high on OxyContin.)
Here’s the proof, or disproof of this so-called "theory." Humans — all mammals, in fact — have two eyes. In fact, we have two hands, arms, legs, ears, breasts, and nostrils. We have but one mouth, but it is graced by two lips, and we all know from which one’s excess food is excreted, making the anus having at least some duality with the orifice from which food entered the body.
But we only have one sexual organ. And it’s used for two things.
If this doesn’t disprove intelligent design, I don’t know what does.
If there were truly intelligent design, Our Maker in all of His/Her wisdom would have given men at least three schlongs: one for peein’, one for sinnin’, and one from which to hang ornaments.
If we have ten digits on our hands and feet, you’d think we’d at least have five penises. You could count with them, wear your wedding band on one, use one as a pointer, or give new meaning to "giving someone the finger." It could be "giving someone a boner."
(As for women having mutiple vaginas, I’m not going there. Thought it would be totally cool, if done tastefully).
So all of you vigilantes stalking out school board meetings, your argument is toast. Nobody "designed" us, but we evolved over hundreds of thousands of years. And you actually listened to biologists or read "The Origin of Species," you might learn something.
But you don’t have the balls.
Unsurprising to anyone who knows me, there have been times when I feel the urge to kill someone. Not to the point of actually doing it, of course, though with my neighbors, I’ve come close.
You may wonder just what it is about the couple upstairs (and the two ill-tempered brat-monsters they call “children”) that makes me want to toss them into Mount St. Helens. Without getting into too much detail, they are rude, selfish, loud, insane, and utterly unconcerned about the welfare of anyone else in the apartment building in which Wife and I reside.
If it isn’t clear, I despise these loathsome excuses for humanity, and that makes me want to kill them. I’m sure you know the feeling.
But what about killing those you love? If you write fiction, your answer is, Been there, done that.
A recent article in a reputable publication chronicled the inability of a prominent author to kill off his characters, even those who should be 293 years old. Being that I have had similar struggles — and, as I streamline my novel and remove sections with as much delicacy as a farmhand wielding a scythe — I wonder how much difficulty other writers have with this, even the really good ones. (Especially the really good ones.)
Rinse and repeat
The old writing saw about “giving away your children” is sadly true. Writers tend to fall in love with sections of their work that really has no business being in a particular piece. This is true for both scenes and characters. The reasoning is that because it entertains us, the writers, it’s got to be good, no?
When you have to cut out something that is well-written, it’s like admitting to your partner that she was right about any domestic matter. Humiliating, yes, but necessary to keep the peace.
For instance, there was one scene in my novel that chronicled a meeting between the teen-age narrator and his (much older) tormentor, taking place at the latter’s house, a faux-Graceland, complete with gates and jungle room. The older man was a professional wrestler who had graduated magna cum laude from Yale and had one of the world’s largest collections of contemporary Jesus art.
I have to admit: the scene had real drama, snappy dialog, and (dare I say it) some evocative writing. The house is rendered in fine detail, and the characters are full and flawed. The scene just rocks, in my humble opinion.
So of course, I had to nuke it, because the scene had absolutely nothing to do with the story. Ostensibly a plot device, this meeting turned out to be a nice set piece to show off my chops and nothing more. It was hard to pull the trigger, but I had to rid myself of about 2,000 words that were pretty durn good.
If you write fiction long enough, you will end up offing more characters than a serial killer. I know of one writer who doesn’t rewrite — a brilliant talent, to be sure — who simply starts from scratch when a story isn’t working out. Us mere mortals can’t indulge in such luxuries. We revise and revise and revise (and sometimes, it still sucks).
More killing needed
I’ve ruined perfectly good short stories with extraneous crap, which to some might be the natural . . . → Read More: If You Love Someone, Kill Them (Metaphorically Speaking)