Things I’ll do before I sit down to write: almost anything. Delayed gratification is not an option for me because I do not believe that tomorrow ever comes. So why would I do anything that requires waiting for a pay off, or worse yet, work on anything without a guarantee that I will reap some reward? I hear many drummer’s and they’re all playing a different tune. My mind jumps, so a good friend is bribing me to write a book. He is bribing me with cash per finished chapter. My response to this Pavlovian exercise has been astounding. All I have to do is write a chapter, and then another chapter, and each time I finish a chapter, I get a reward, whether or not the chapters are good, whether or not the book sells. I am just writing the book — not worrying about whether it’s good or whether it will sell. I am off my own back. Because my sponsor has no conditions other than finishing a chapter before a payment, I just sit down and the words roll out of me from an entirely different place than usual. I am free to just write the book and a book is evolving without an outline. This good friend is not a money-bag, which makes this arrangement all the more poignant. Suddenly I feel tangible– which makes me realize that I do not think of myself as authentic. More of a poltergeist, floating above a past of futile effort, bad luck, bad timing, false starts, failures heaped and hidden behind a sardonic sense of the world that I have lost faith in. I’ll admit it: I have lost hope. I feel I have some ancient Irish curse on my head which prevents me from any monetary success. And of course, now I am addicted to the money struggles– which take up a huge part of the day– just the worry and fret of it — and the time and energy it takes to worry about money detracts from the time I have to fail again. Failure takes time. You have to work at something to fail successfully. You have to dream. You have to methodically and courageously participate in that dream. You have to brainwash yourself into believing in the dream. There’s no room for second guessing or mindless worry. My past weighs so heavy on me. A realist, I don’t believe in the tooth fairy or destiny. I did, yes, long ago. Hey, look at me. I should be writing a chapter now instead of discussing why I wouldn’t bother writing a chapter if not for my Fairy Godfather.
It’s easy. Don’t dye your hair. Chew your fingernails. Don’t wash you hands or face. Don’t change your clothes for days at a time. Leave your bed unmade. Leave empty wine glasses under the bureau. Leave bureau drawers pulled out. If you smell bad, spray the French way, Continue reading
That’s right, the manifesto, Brokeland, begun in 1994; the package of writing that earned me a Fellowship at Breadloaf Writer’s Conference in 1996?; the writing that was a bunch of short stories that evolved from a stack of columns I wrote for a rag newspaper in Brooklyn under the name, Dr. L.H. Casey in 1992, the writing that my then literary agent suggested I turn into a novel because she couldn’t sell a first time author’s short stories, a suggestion which overwhelmed me as I attempted to weave the stories together into a novel or novella or novelette and failed. Continue reading