Writing Process: Best Laid Plans

I was all set to have a big writing day. I was going to do a 2-3 hour final draft of Baller, my tree-planting script, and get it ready to submit . And then, after an inspiring workout, I would hammer out 4-5 hours of Fuck Pedagogy, getting out all the nasty details of the year-long arbitration with a former school.

But it was not to be. I didn’t get into the work until late and then realized the opening to Baller needed serious work which stalled everything. From there it was a bad house of cards, finishing up bits of cheese from the fridge and moving plants to more ideal locations on the windowsill.

And then I decided to write this blog and see if that got me on my merry way. I’ll let you know. (Odds are against.)

Update: No.

Fuck Pedagogy

After spending a strange fifteen months applying to schools – 100+ rejections in the end – and a temporary contract online, I’m back in the classroom. It’s a good place to be, not only for me but for my book, Fuck Pedagogy.

As I have mentioned previously, the book is my autobiographical take on education, how many in the industry have no idea what they are doing or if they do, not giving a shit about the students.

I’m not a pedagogical person – “listen to the students and offer what I know” sums up my practice neatly – and I have had my issues with the powers that be. That’s what I’m working on now – the drama of my three dismissals – so that I can focus on what the book is really supposed to mean.

Commuter Blues

I don’t have a clue who I am, where I am going or what I’ve done. It’s a meandering thing that goes out the door and comes back in. I know something about nothing and that is about all. I am fascinated for a time. People too. There is a moment. And then not. I know it is about nothing, nothing and nothing again and almost take solace in that. Not quite.

The fact is that I hate the look-at-me dissolution of our world, the babies that never grew and think people cares about their childish discoveries. That is where we have lost everything. While the barbarians culled these ones, we’ve decided to let them run the show.

Life on the Commuter Train

There is nothing like coming into the city on the train. It’s all here, inside and out, the buildings thick with cranes, the roads with trucks and plastic, the river wide and dark.

We have forgotten what we never had. We have looked back blind. We have let loose with a broken yarn. We are here, magnanimous and incompetent. Yes, yes, yes. Wait. That is the answer, that sound. It will come again. When we are gone.

The boy across from me eats salted cauliflower sticks, one by one, wiping his fingers on his drooping mask, intent on the next page of The Magician. He pokes his fingers inside again, licking off the last grains, crumples the bag, and holds the book up high, a better filter against the pandemic that anyone knew. The couple beside hold hands, the young man clinging, desperately asking her what she thinks through his tight mask. The girls at the front of the train explode hilariously, talking over one another in a spew, “I felt it touch my lips. That was it. I love weed. I was going to put it into the Pringles. I don’t remember a black bag. I will Venmo you right now. You look so good.”

I think of her, still think that we could make it work. I know it is not real, that she would wander away or lie or deny what she did and said, but still it is the idea of her, the magic of that streaming in, with her in a remarkable circumstance, sucking on her great left breast, marvelous in mass, supple and goose-pimpled, believing in everything, stuck in that, even when she laughs and her friend tells her to turn to the camera for the Tik Tok video.

And then it becomes something else, more wide, more clear, held, the way you might hold a piece of nothing like it was god or truth or love and really believe that. And so yeah, seven dollars for two shots and a mega-can of beer. Fuck me. That’s what it’s all about.

Writing Process: Convincing Readers to Love the Unlovable

Dee Sinclair is impossible. She doesn’t give a fuck about anything or anyone. Don’t get me wrong. I love Dee. She is the Cat’s Pajamas on steroids. For me. That’s probably because she is so much like me: opinionated, cantankerous, demanding, isolated and always right. Readers of The Cx Trilogy and My Bad Side don’t find these attributes compelling. She’s does not inspire empathy or engagement. She is not likeable. That’s what they say.

And so, I’ve been at work, cleaning up Dee’s rough spots, gutting her bitter pontifications, making her a little more approachable. And while I might be making headway, I’m struggling with it. Dee doesn’t want people in her head. She wants to be left the fuck alone. In other words, what makes her so lovely to me is what makes her an impossible bitch for everyone else. No one likes to be told to fuck off. I get that. And that’s the thing about Dee. She’s good with that. She wants it like that. Leave her the fuck alone.

As soon as I explain why – the tragedy of her mother and sister – she just gets more pissed off. Pity? Fuck, no. Empathy? Why the fuck would she want that? She’s got the genes, the chromosomes, the essential strands of life. Why would she want any of us to understand or care? We can all go fuck ourselves. Done and done. And that’s my problem. Not her problem, but mine.

In a Flight Delay

I realize that I am the same chunky fellow when I was a kid. The same. That’s what I am thinking about or more about not going anywhere, of staying, doing something else, just not what I’m doing, not this, because that is what’s expected of me.

There is someone at my shoulder. I don’t know here. I ask, “Who are you?” She says something about understanding. It goes on until I finally lose it, “I don’t want to know who you are or wake up next to you, right? I just want to say goodbye. That work?”

Intellectual Property

Whatever you do, whatever you attempt, if it works, somebody later will try to make it something else and pretend it is their own and profit by that.

It doesn’t matter what is real or what you know, there is always another to say, “No, you are a liar.” It’s only a question of how involved you want to become in that.