Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The GrayBeard Manifesto


My friends, my enemies, my countrymen, this is the gauntlet, i'm not going to throw it down, no that's not my style, i'm going to hand it to you, gently, because i harbor no ill will, really i don't, it's just that the time has come and i must profess my sins, my arrogance, my asshole to you all, read on at your own risk for this might not be pretty but it's time has come and now i give it to you...

Full disclosure: When i was 19 or so i picked up No One Here Gets Out Alive by Danny Sugarman, Jim Morrisson's biography, i was running a cash register at Hill's dept. store and was in what might be termed a transitional phase in my life, smoking alot of pot and beginning to take acid and drinking quite heavily, what i consider normal for any red-blooded suburban boy, see it was this book and even writing this makes me want to vomit that changed the course of my life so to speak, it was this book that led me to others, that led me to a rooming house in Ocean City where i smoked more pot and took more acid and drank even more booze, where i read Burroughs and Kerouac and Hunter Thompson and one Henry Charles Bukowski, of course along the way i read all of Morrisson's poems and will argue with no one that they are nothing but complete and total horseshit, fucking bad poetry, if you try to argue otherwise i will most likely punch you in the face and give you a good kick when you are rolling around on the dirty barroom floor, i will then most likely rifle through your pockets and take your money and drugs if you have any. But these are the events that led me to declare at the ripe old age of 20 that i was going to be a writer, for better or worse and it was at this age that i picked up a pen and used to scribble out poems in a yellow lined steno notebook, truly awful shit that i pull out now and then to remind me just how far i've come and how little i've travelled, god awful pap, shit i'd be embarrassed to show anyone but as we all know you have to start somewhere...

So start i did and i spent the next few years at college pretending to be a writer and reading everything i could get my hands on, of course the writer gig was good, as i once told a professor in grad school who asked me the question why i wrote and i said this with a straight face and with all sincerity, "for the pussy", and i wasn't lying, i mean there were to many guys in shitty bands to compete with and if one had the right Kerouac books and maybe a stray copy of Anais Nin on the shelf you could get yourself into a lot of panties, you never had to show them much, a stray poem or two that "you were still working on", didn't need to bring them to band practice or have a show, you just needed to brood alot and project some air of mystery and deep and emotional thought and bam, you were in, no need to talk about your single coming out or talk shit on other bands, just float along and carry a notebook around, of course back then i was convinced i was the next genius, the next Bukowski, and was already plotting which actresses i was going to bed, i'm looking at you Winona, it was just a matter of time, didn't matter that my shit was for lack of a better term, shit. It would happen and the world would embrace my genius, simple really...

Now i've been fighting systems since i fell out of the womb ten days late and this writing thing would be no different, not that i had any system but i refused "Art School or MFA programs", i think we all know how i feel about those, i refused jobs because apparently i was a bright young lad, scoffed at law school, passed on gigs writing at ad agencies, instead i went to the beach and surfed badly and made fries and skimmed registers, i wrote a little bit but nothing much, of course what i didn't know is that experience helps in this writing game and though i didn't know it i kind of set about getting some, wonderfully oblivious to all the shit around me, and the only reason i even attempted grad school was because the weed connection went south and i didn't really have anything better to do, i had even managed to get a few poems published and a short story in what i can only guess are long defunct little magazines, all around the age of 23 to 25, see i was still going ot be a writer even if i did spend very little time writing, but then i dropped out of grad school and wandered small town streets dreaming that i was Raskolnikov, washing dishes in a coffee shop, selling dirt weed, doing whatever to make it by, then came another summer at the beach where relationships fell apart and i split my head open and i typed non-stop in my spare time on an old electric typewriter, typed stories that for once again lacking a vocabulary, were shit. See up until this point i talked alot about being a writer, fucking if you sat next to me in a bar you would soon find out i was a "writer", i mean truth be told i'm sure i was the kind of annoying twat that i would punch if i sat down next to myself now and started talking, i had the look, long dreads and bushy goat-tee, worn thrift store clothes and beat up shoes, i was slowly accumulating the books, could talk the talk but when it came to it i had next to nothing worth reading, of course this is not to say i still do but bear with now cuz in my head this was way more entertaining than it is on the page...

Then i took the next ten years off. Like Hank. I barely wrote ten pages over those years, oh i talked about it alot and batted my eyes at any young female who would listen but i didn't do anything, i did sell a mountain of weed, experiment with more drugs and towards the end try and reform myself into a somewhat upstanding citizen but the results of that self improvement regimen is highly debatable, see like the old fag in the woods i took the road less travelled and i'm beginning to find out it does make all the difference, see i had all these pre-conceived notions about this writing life, even went so far as to read some books on how to do it, write every day, have a routine, make sure you pee before you start and i realized it was all fucking tripe, now i write in the middle of the room with noise and cats and baby monitors...

So please Kono fucking get to it, you've bored these people long enough, but as we know i'm basically an idiot, see when i had a place to write awhile back, my office, i spent more time doing coke off my desk and jerking off to internet porn than actually writing, then Kid A came along and i cut out some bad habits and began sitting down and doing shit... and guess what? it was still shit, i was still doing what i thought i was supposed to be doing, i mean for a guy railing against the system i sure did write alot like the monkeys all chasing the banana known as an MFA, and then i began writing Gulfboot long and rambling emails about my past adventures, see Gulfboot had read some of my shit and when he did he was surprised, he thought i'd be a Bukowski rip-off but i was somewhat more of an Ellroy rip-off with a Buk slant, of course what Gulfboot was to kind to say was that it was garbage and he smiled and handed it back, see Gulfboot can write, he can write like a motherfucker and i'd read his shit and be embarrassed about how juvenile mine was and it was after i started writing those emails that Gulfboot came along and said why don't you stop writing like "they" want you to write and write like you write those emails, see Gulfboot set up this blog for me, told me i should share this shit with the world and you can go back and look and see how piss poor it was at the start, at 36 i was starting over, teaching myself to write all over again, maybe finally getting serious but then how serious can i be and maybe what i'm getting at is this...

I read alot of stuff on the interweb and see much hand wringing and teeth gnashing about writing, i hear about writer's block and am baffled, i've never had it, i mean there's time i don't write much but usually i head off to the bar or take a walk or contemplate the depth and circumference of my navel and bang i got something, interesting lives make interesting reading and that's not to say you have to sell dope or strip you just have to know how to make the mundane interesting sometimes and see over the last few years, and maybe this has something to do with age, i don't give a fuck what people think, i developed a sense of self belief or confidence or what could be perceived as arrogance but i know i can write, i can write ads or obituaries or rambling stories with incorrect grammar and punctuation, i don't need anyone to tell me it's good or bad, i don't really fucking care, don't worry about getting paid for it, don't worry about what the establishment thinks, i don't worry about anything, i just do it and keep doing it, apply ass to seat and see what happens cuz i don't like television and i don't have the money to spend all my spare hours in bars like i used to, i don't worry about being the next Henry Miller or Nelson Algren cuz i already am, i'm just as much a writer as they were, if i don't believe that who will, if you don't believe you are i suggest you take up knitting or croquet cuz you're fucked...

See Gulfboot suggested i start compiling these little vignettes known as the Wilderness Years and write a book, a friend of his suggested a screenplay, and hell why not, i'm gonna write anyway, the lounge might suffer but i'm sure my two readers would understand, of course i'm in the process of trying to move to the lily white suburbs and don't want to begin these endeavours until i've moved, moved to a place where my neighbors are far away and i don't have to learn their names, where the boyos can ride bikes without the fear of getting caught in the crossfire, hell i might not write just one screenplay maybe i'll write three, seeing as i've got the whole outline for the second parts of both Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, the point is to do it and not worry about it, hell i'd sell the fucking screen plays for a case of PBR tall boys and a pair of Puma's, and maybe the point of all this rambling is that i've finally come to the point where i can say i'm a writer, maybe nothing more than a writer with a couple of followers and shitty website in a vast universe of shitty websites but a writer nonetheless, cuz i don't do this shit to get hits or become famous or sell ads i do it cuz like my heroes i have to, there's really nothing more for me to do, i have no marketable skills, i'm not very bright, my days of being a male stripper have probably passed me by and soon i may loose my gig changing light bulbs, which would be the catalyst for me to become a full time house dad and bang this fucking typer non-stop for better or worse...

and what really is the point of all this? fuck i don't know, maybe to tell you kids to keep trying and stop worrying, maybe to tell the young kids out there to keep living and worry about the writing stuff later, maybe it's to say i'm gonna write that book for no other reason than to do it and if it gets published and it sells a whopping 100 copies so fucking what? i'll start on the next one and then the next one, cuz at the end of the day this is what i do, and i'll keep doing it even if the only reader i have is the guy who's typing it out... so there it is, my Dr. Phil moment, now i'll shut the fuck up cuz this is nothing like it was in my head now was it? of course you wouldn't know cuz you're not in my head but hell this is the kind of failure where i should really just press delete, instead though i'll slap this baby on the ass and listen to the scream...



8 comments:

twin said...

while i appreciate the interlude...

THIS...has been sorely missed.

(back to crying in my corner...)

twin said...

ps: i fucking hate morrison's writings! douche...

daisyfae said...

Gulfboot's a smart man. Write it. You have to...

and i wanna be in the movie. i'm an award winning actress, you know. (just don't tell my current gentlemen friends...)

Gulfboot Johnson said...

Thanks Daisy. I don't know shit but I know there's a real writer dressed up like a gobshite in Captain Graybeard.

He should write it in his inimitable prose and let some schmuck turn it into a screenplay mind you. Nothing is more stifling than writing for the screen. It's like canning gladioli.

sybil law said...

Oh, God. Jim Morrison. My high school idol. Hahahahaha he really was a hack but damn some people still worship him!
You, though, Kono - you are NOT a hack. The first time I visited here, I was hooked. Period.
You keep writing and I'll keep reading and leaving my stupid little comments. Deal?

JMH said...

Yeah, I agree with all of this with the possible exception of having an interesting life. It certainly works for you, but I'm fine where I'm at. There's nothing ever new, except when someone dies or gets married or has a kid, and that's not terribly new.

I just sit around every morning before work and rearrange words, describe weather, try to make myself laugh out loud. I do this so at the end of the day I feel like I've at least done something other than enrich the rich.

For me writing is like building a dining room table, a table that will never work as table because all the legs are uneven, but it has fancy little beveled edges and inlays and shit.

Kono said...

Twin- in the words of J. Spaceman, c'mon baby stop your crying/c'mon baby stop your crying now... and thanks.

Daisy- practice on that pole (that didn't sound good) much of the movie will take place in a strip club.

Das Boot- if there's one think i love it's canned gladioli.

Sybil- isn't it the right of every suburban white kid to go through a Jim Morrison phase? I am the Lizard King, i can do anything.

JMH- gracias amigo but i did state that one doesn't have to strip or sell dope you just have to know how to make the mundane interesting... and believe me i'm the most boring and mundane fucker around. I also don't know shit about building tables unless of course they are Cheech and Chong style tables made outta weed to be shipped to far off places on the sly.

Blogger said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.