Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bohemian Rhapsody


There is a pub 67 steps from my front door, yes i've counted if for no other reason than curiosity, up the street and around the corner, on Tuesday's it's $2 imports and they have many tellys all tuned to sports and yet it's not a sports bar, the bartenders know me and the special starts when i walk in otherwise it's 9 til 11, i left the house due to the girl watching crap telly and i wanted to take a look at the second team Septics as the faced the Czech Republic in a World Cup warm-up, went alone as i often do to stare mindlessly and contemplate the chances that we Septics will see the second round...

Two stools over sat a man who took an interest in the fact that i was a soccer fan, sitting there in my George Best t-shirt, drinking Dutch beer, he struck up a conversation and so it began, a good night but he got me going on what i now consider one of my stock lectures, something to pull out to show the professional types that some of us low-lives actually do have a bit of a brain, see professional types love to ask me what i do and when i'm not completely fucked on herb or booze or pills i can come off, believe it not, as a somewhat erudite statesman of the lumpen prole, earlier in the conversation about soccer he had mentioned he worked with head trauma cases and i asked if he was a neurologist and he said no, a behavior specialist, i replied that i was a light bulb changer, which drew from him an inquisitive look and i explained that no really that was what i did between unloading trucks and moving furniture and taking naps, he seemed a bit surprised until i mentioned that what i mainly was is am a writer, of course the next question was well what do you write? and my reply was i don't really know...

thus began my lecture, the one where i laid out that i was adhering to a tradition, a working class hero dream as laid out by Algren, Fante, Bukowski, Miller, Jim Thompson, Celine, Genet, Bolano and Larry Brown, now i don't know if he even knew who these people were, he was just a decent guy from Philly with a wife and two daughters, most likely happy to just have conversation with someone, lived in the burbs and came to the burgh a few times a year to train people, most likely he was staying at the hotel near the hospital and my dentist who i con into giving me painkillers, this i did not ask, but he seemed interested in what i wrote and i explained that lately i had been writing short stories, many of which that have characters that overlap and i was somehow working toward getting the whole thing to be something of a novel but not really as each piece would stand on it's own and he asked if i had published anything and i said years ago, a story and some bad poetry, though i quit writing bad poetry as that is something only young men who shower infrequently do and if you continue past the age of thirty it just means you are either a pathetic lout living in mom's basement or worse yet a member of academia and the poetry of academia is nothing but a big pile of shit and vomit...

i took a piss, he mulled this over, when i returned he asked me why i hadn't published anything recently and i smiled and said basically because i have no talent, to which he responded are you afraid of rejection and he clarified that this was just the behavior specialist in him asking, i then explained that it really had nothing to do with the fear of rejection, i mean hell i've been rejected by so many places and so many women that it practically gave me an erection every time i got one of those little envelopes back in the mailbox or a curt fuck off from a lovely lovely, i said no it's more me being incredibly fucking lazy and undisciplined, scatterbrained and always moving on to something new, i said what was the use in publishing in magazines these days as most of them paid shit if not nothing and that the golden age of writing was gone, gone was the days when a John Fante or Jim Thompson could survive by selling stories, the unwashed masses wanted movies now, barely fucking know how to read really and unless i get some rich guy to kick me a monthly stipend to sit home and compose my diatribes like Bukowski it most likely was a non-paying gig, my best hope was to work on the aforementioned stories and shop it to an agent or publisher if i ever got around to it and if i didn't that was fine too, i said that when i was younger i had these delusions of sitting around writing poesy and banging hot women in librarian glasses who would hang on every juicy morsel i let fall from my lips but as i got older i realized that shit was for guys in bands and artist types, you know sensitive boys and that i wanted to bring back the big, fat, hairy ball sac like Hemingway or some such shit...

And then i got to the actual point, i told him that we live in a country where we don't actually produce anything, i mean call me nostalgic but we don't make steel or build cars and very few of us work with our hands unless you count flipping burgers or pouring beers which are important jobs no doubt cuz i like to eat and drink but really most of us just push paper or move consumable goods from point A to point B or stare at little screens as zero's and one's dart around an imaginary world, i said i'm a fucking postmodern light bulb changer John, that was his name, i mean really there is no meaning in what i do, it's a task you could train monkeys to do most likely and when i get a chance to sit down and play with the typer it's for no one else but me, see the behavior i'm exhibiting is giving my life meaning, yes i raise my sons but at the end of the day, when the dirt nap comes creeping i want to be able to hand those boys 10,000 pages and say this is what your old man was doing all those nights, in it you'll find stories and memoirs and rants and rambles because having a craft is important, having some sort of passion is important, working to be good at something is fucking important even if you never get fucking paid for it or become what society quote unquote calls a fucking success and i'm not talking about those fucking wankers in grad school getting MFA's, that's not working towards anything but a job teaching other talentless wankers how to write poorly, so what it really comes down to is i write for my own entertainment, i write because i think to much and dislike television and if i get to high to concentrate on writing i lay in be and read or stare out my window...

I finished the last of my Dutch beer around that point and he wanted to know if i'd like another and i said no thank you, it's time to take the 67 steps back home and he asked if i was gonna be there tonight and i said most likely no, family and shit and he said he understood, i shook his hand and walked out past the lovely girls in their flowered summer dresses and smelling like jasmine and vanilla and all sorts of other girly things, lit a cigarette and marched smiling towards my failures...

8 comments:

daisyfae said...

i miss the big hairy ball sac writer. the emo writers need to grow some hair and 'nads.

you've got it right, kono. exactly right. and you have good things to say.

JMH said...

"What do you write?" is the most baffling question. I get it once every couple of weeks or couple of months or whenever I get around to meeting people. My first instinct is to say "I don't understand the question."

I guess people write in a genre or a form. The thought seems alien to me, a sort of top-down rather than bottom-up (bottoms up) creation. I write phrases, they're like little bits of glass and foil, and I arrange them into a pattern I find pleasing.

Yeah.

Gulfboot Johnson said...

I don't know about you lot, but I write cos I can't play guitar.

nursemyra said...

how can you be marching towards your failures when two little lovely boys lie sleeping at the end of your walk?

twin said...

send me the book... ;-)

FUZZARELLY said...

From someone that would like to write, but is also lazy, (I mean, I can spit out a very good press release, but that's about it,) I want to say that I enjoy your posts and your writing. I am delighted that you testify to the joys of drugs, alcohol, and insanity.

Kono said...

Daisy- Here's to the big hairy ball sac writers, down with Lethem, Eggers, Cunningham and Safran Foer... the leaders in the pussification of the American Male.

JMH- What do you write?

Gulfboot- ditto

Nurse- the juries still out on that, give me time and i'm sure i can fuck it up.

Twin- if it ever gets done you'll get a copy straight away. ;)

Fuzzarelly- thank you very much and i'm glad you enjoy this stuff.

Rassles said...

I'm with you on that. What do you write?

I don't know. Stuff.