Questions On Our Existence

Do I want to know when and where I will die? Hell no! But…a ‘yes’ means that there’s more to what I think I know. And so…yes?

When you order “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Chungking Express”, Amazon recommends a spanking video. (Should I put it on my list?)

I’ve got one for whoever is in charge of this mess: Are humans a successful step in evolution? Yes or no. No waffling. (Uh…no.)

A Baby to Expunge

As much as I love this scene, it doesn’t work for my novel, The Vanishing Pill.

Punter’s film had finally uploaded and was ready to view. It opened with Punter handing over a kilo of cocaine to the Head of School, Lilly Castor – played by the Head of the Fine Arts Department – as a bribe to not expel him. The meeting concluded with Lisa accepting the cocaine and then doing a gang handshake with Punter. The class exploded in laughter. Davis, dumbfounded, watched the following where the boys, assumedly all high on cocaine, ran around an apartment like maniacs; he abruptly stopped the film. “What the hell is this?”

“New York New Wave,” Punter proudly declared. The class laughed at that.

“This film is garbage, Punter.”

“It’s a question of taste, isn’t it?”

Davis went to Lilly’s office immediately after the class. “I just watched Punter’s film.”

She had disconcertingly wide eyes and a tight fat mouth. “Our meeting isn’t until tomorrow.”

“Lilly, I just saw his film where you play the head of school.”

She turned her rolling chair half toward him. “He certainly put a lot of time into that. He’s such a dedicated to film-making.”

“Lilly…” Davis made a series of gestures, unable to say what he wanted to say. “The opening scene is of you accepting a kilo of cocaine and then doing a gang handshake.”

“He told me that it was going to be a morality tale,” Lilly explained.

“It only gets worse from there,” Davis replied. “They pile the cocaine on a table and run insanely around the apartment. They students were stunned.”

“You didn’t preview the film before showing it to the class?”

“The opening shot was of you taking a kilo of cocaine from one of our students.”

She stood up quickly. “I don’t like how you’re speaking to me, Davis.”

“How I’m speaking to you?” Davis made a half back step into the hallway and then back into the office. “Lilly, do you understand that right now every one of those kids is telling the story of that film to everyone else in the school?”

Her cheeks and chest flushed a heavy red. “Davis, you need to leave my office. Our meeting is tomorrow.”

The Genius of Failure (or Vice Versa)

I can see it clearly: the musty one-bedroom apartment, two floors up, a view of the parking lot out back. There’s a hotplate, mini-fridge, cabinet full of booze, an old wooden frame bed and a handicap accessible bathroom. I’ve seen it many times, and I will be there soon enough.

And I can see this: the back of a limousine, window half down, the warm desert air shuffling in as it begins to get light. There’s a band of pink strip lighting, mini-fridge, cabinet full of booze and a young woman curled up across from me.

The thing is that they’re same thing, just at different speeds.

Writing Drain

I wrote all day. And then I wrote more. I went at it too long, and now I feel stupid and stoned. I was out of it, that was certain, all those images and words gone from my head. I was voided. There was nothing.

Bust of James Joyce, Dublin

I remember thinking that the story was important. But now…I don’t know. It seems more a never-ending thing about drugs and sex and redemption too, but all towards death and forgetting, tomorrow and tomorrow and who cares.

My hands looked weird, and I didn’t know where I was. I tried to think if I could still get booze at the store and got vertigo. That was all I had. And I needed something for tomorrow. I knew that. And the day after that. I just didn’t know what.

Writing Advice: Five Pages Per Day & Don’t Drain the Brain

I’ve read a number of books by writers about writing, and two things have stuck with me over the years. Ian Fleming attested to writing five pages every day before noon so that he could spend the rest of the day swimming and drinking. (I substitute swimming with hiking.)

And Ernest Hemingway was clear in his autobiography, A Moveable Feast, to not drain the brain so that he always had something to start with the next day. In other words, if you go too far one day, you might not get anywhere after that.

Silence is Golden

There is nothing like shutting up about the writing process – whatever that is – and writing instead, clattering away on who’s knows what but what seems to work right now.

There are pauses between the bursts, leaving me staring dumbly, hands dangling apelike, not thinking about writing but trying to remember the next bit and chase after that before it goes. Yeah, back to that.