I’m in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. I’m sitting at my table, David McCullough’s Wright Brothers biography at my side, and looking out at the clearing skies. It’s beginning to get warmer.
I’m writing now. That’s what I’m doing because I’m a writer. I write. Not that I’ve been feeling clear on that for some time. I know that I’m a writer. I know that is who I am. I know that is how I feel most myself, doing that, writing. As Wilbur Wright said about flying: When you know that the whole mechanism is working perfectly, the sensation is so keenly delightful as to be almost beyond description. More than anything else the sensation is one of perfect peace, mingled with the excitement that strains every nerve to the utmost, if you can conceive of such a combination. That is the sensation of writing for me.
And yet, given my failure to have anything published in 38 years, I often don’t feel a writer and know that few others consider me as that. I’m a writer. I’m nothing. I’m a writer. I’m a failure. I’m a writer. I’m a loser. I’m a fucking writer. If you say so. This isn’t a series of thoughts, one after the other, but a garble of it all at once, puking through my head. And the idea of failure dominates.
That said, I’m glad to write about that. And I’m happy to be here on the Outer Banks with my view over the dunes of the greening sea and brightening skies, a triangle of pelicans flashing overhead. That’s something to write about. Which is what I did.
My creative writing teacher in college, Viktor Coleman, told me that I obfuscated too much in my writing, meaning that I put up barriers to avoid sharing my genuine voice. His analysis pissed me off. “All this guy cares about is fucking his hot students,” I railed to friends. “He doesn’t give a damn about what makes writing work.”
I don’t shy away from sharing my thoughts and experiences in my writing through my alter egos Buzz, Dee and Davis. They’ve been shamefully drunk, horribly abusive and have fucked whoever and whatever they could, including a bean bag chair. They just don’t dwell on what they’ve done. There are no revelations. These things happened; they accept that and moved on. Like real people do.
Which Coleman and others might argue is where the artifice comes in: the arc, denouement and lessons to follow. I don’t agree, Life isn’t like that. Life is a teacher fucking his student and nobody giving a damn, including the students. There is no Me Too. No clever point of view. It’s just things that happen, and that’s it. The characters are still alive and looking for the answers in all the wrong places.
Things happened and here we are. That’s my narrative. That’s what I see in our world. My heroes – super or otherwise- don’t save the day. They takes care of themselves first and then whoever suits their needs. Nobody’s buying that yet. I just need a couple more years of scrolling and we’ll be there.
The memories of Sarasota Jungle Gardens are vivid in my head: a macaw on a little bike, another one on my arm, alligators basking, flamingos silhouetted against the bright water in the sun, marvelous things all around.
I don’t remember how I got there. I don’t remember any of the who’s and what’s. It was just the magic of being there.
And so I went back, many years later, and listened to the ponytailed guy’s well-worn bits about his cranky colorful birds, and watched the children watching him, wowed by the birds meows and cackles.
The show went for 15 minutes, me and the other kids getting restless before it was over, and I walked around the zoo, glancing at the snakes and owls and lemurs before getting back to my car. The magic was no more. I had to call my lawyer and start the lawsuit against them for using my image without permission.
I instructed Chat GPT to write a pitch for my novel My Bad Side based on this tagline: Three days Dee could not remember and now would never forget
My Bad Side is a psychological thriller that follows the story of Dee, a young woman who wakes up in a hospital with no memory of the past three days. As she struggles to piece together what happened during that time, she begins to uncover dark secrets and a web of deceit that threatens to destroy her life.
As Dee delves deeper into the mystery, she is faced with unimaginable horrors and must fight for her survival against powerful enemies who will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden. With the help of a few trusted friends, Dee must use all of her strength and cunning to uncover the truth and protect herself from those who seek to do her harm. Filled with twists and turns, My Bad Side is a gripping and suspenseful novel that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.
Chat GPT is a program that utilizes artificial intelligence to write responses to any prompt. I entered the following: “Write a 200-word blog on the writing process” and got this:
The writing process is the series of steps that writers go through to create a written work. It is an iterative process that involves planning, drafting, revising, and editing. The first step in the writing process is planning. This involves deciding on the topic, purpose, and audience for the written work. It also involves gathering and organizing ideas, creating an outline, and determining the structure and flow of the piece.
The second step is drafting. This involves using the outline and ideas gathered during the planning phase to begin writing the piece. The goal of the drafting phase is to get as many ideas down on paper as possible, without worrying too much about grammar or structure. The third step is revising. During the revising phase, writers review and assess their work, looking for areas that need improvement or clarification. This may involve adding or deleting material, rearranging paragraphs, or changing the tone or style of the piece.
The final step is editing. This involves reviewing the piece for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors and making any necessary corrections. It is important to have a fresh set of eyes review the work during the editing phase, as it can be easy to overlook mistakes when reviewing one’s own work. The writing process is an essential part of creating a well-written and effective piece of work. By following these steps and being mindful of the planning, drafting, revising, and editing stages, writers can produce clear and concise written works that effectively convey their ideas and messages.
It’s a dull machine but more on point than I’ve ever been. Time to board Aqaara!
Dee Sinclair did everything alone; it was how she walked, how she drove, how she sat on the subway, looking to be in her own empty pocket, as far as possible from everyone else.
She didn’t like people. They were selfish and greedy, yes, everyone like that, which was why the world would have to come to a bad end. In the end, she knew that there was little more than approximations of anything she hoped to find.
As I mentioned, I am in the midst of the tenth draft of Anori.
Which means that I go back and forth between feeling like a writer – at the exact center of a marvelously spinning wheel with moments and experiences flashing out in wonder – and a monosyllabic imbecile who blathers on about nothing. Or both at the same time, the wheel spinning out blather.
Well, at least I wrote this. It feels like something, even if it isn’t.
Lanny is a delivery driver and talks incessantly about cleaning the roads of debris to his girlfriend, Vera. He talks about all of the blown-out tires, the plastic and metal of every description, the roadkill in all their decaying stages, all of it dissolving into the pavement, grass and bushes, all of that needing to be cleaned, sorted and dumped.
He then talks about their apartment, how they need to clean the kitchen and cupboards, get everything in order. Vera takes the comments as an attack and tells him she is going away for the weekend. He throws her suitcase down the hallways. She screams at him and he hits her and leaves. He comes home to find her drowned in bath
Gustave Flaubert famously coined the term mot juste. The idea of finding the right word and avoiding synonyms to vary the language was famously seized upon by Ernest Hemingway in his autobiographic tale of boozing and writing in Paris, A Moveable Feast.
I always appreciated the idea and tended in that direction but have come to wonder if it is more so mot paresseux (lazy), just sticking in the word out of habit, rather than some kind of idealization. I still prefer the idea to Mot SAT, but it’s something to consider.