Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Fear, Emptiness, Despair

No, I don't have some earthshattering personal revelation nor a richly textured screed on the inevitable collapse of modern American society; the first-class fuckery currently at play in the Middle East; or the Russkies condemning Old Europe to frostbite and a painful, lonely death; I just wanted to use a Napalm Death album for the title of a post appropriately full of nothing but self-centered whining.

Though I do often fear the spectre of emptiness in my head, which in turn leads to despair at the prospects of yet another vacuous entry chez moi. The Novel From Hell, consuming perhaps too much of my focus and thus leaving this site of electro-crap flush with more worthlessness than it otherwise would have been flushed with -- thus deserving a good flushing in the manner of Sir Thomas Crapper -- is, if not at a dead end, then certainly at a fork, spoon and knife in the road where the map is one of those decrepit, yellowing, barely legible kinds that you see in old Treasure Island ripoffs or that you made when you were a little kid, soaking the finished product in tea and letting it dry to get the cracked, weathered look of something arcane.

"Sure, everyone did that. Geek."

Oh, like none of those fuckers ever played pirates? X marks the spot?

"Maybe as adults."

Sexy. What isn't sexy is being stuck, finding a way out, then realizing that in the days and weeks and months ahead that way out demands the weaving of new matériel and previously-hinted-at themes through all the two hundred or so pages previously written yet which speak of the future. Which remains in our past, as it's not a sci-fi time travel deal, although by the time I'm done, maybe it will be. Not really, but I cannot say for certain as I am not Nostradamus as he's French and dead and I'm American and alive. Sure, the whole thing is a clusterfuck of overwrought and boring proportion -- the novel, not Nostradamus, for who doesn't love reading about destruction, misery and the apocalypse -- and I enjoy writing the same way the flagellants loved Baby Jesus, but, well, fucking hell.

En plus, thanks to the arse and shite economy, and the fact that people are reading less, we get creepy tales of online novels and agents flipping the bird to old schoolery.

"And? Maybe you might want to think about finishing it first. And editing it. Oh, and learning to write well might not be such a bad idea, either. On second thought, do us all a favor and take up tiddlywinks."

Maybe I will, brain, maybe I will. Think they have a World Series for this?


susan said...

The wovel.. another somewhat abstruse term for a weird idea whose time came and went without any regrets from me. Word processor fever has made solipsists of so many otherwise interesting people.

Dean Wormer said...

Stupid writer's block. Don't you just want to pull it out of it's Hyundai and beat it to a pulp Rodney King style?

thatgirl said...

you could always pull a Calvino and write an entire book of novelistic dead ends. But he thought of it first.

mandt said...

"self-centered whining." Yep, let's start with a good Cab....or $2 buck Chuck!

Randal Graves said...

susan, hell, I can't even use a word processor to create the damn thing. That's fine if people do (and it does eliminate the need to type it up) but I have to write, otherwise it feels too ephemeral.

dean, oh, I do, but this is more insidious. I have crap to write, but now I have to integrate it. The other type of block is like being a Browns fan: I know they suck, so I have no expectations.

thatgirl, bah, I've got no compunction when it comes to thievery.

mandt, you know, I might just start keeping a bottle of some rotgut around.

Übermilf said...

You should become a drunken playwright like Eugene O'Neill.

Why? I don't know. But it would add variety to your whining.

Randal Graves said...

That's actually a pretty good idea. I already like the spirits and sure, the play will suck on a Chimpy level, but what the hell.

Tom Harper said...

Is there an online version of tiddlywinks? Or Old Maid?

okjimm said...

//Though I do often fear the spectre of emptiness in my head//

Ha! Which only affirms, sir, the vastness of the praire your heart roams!!!

// thus leaving this site of electro-crap flush with more worthlessness than it otherwise would have been flushed with --//

Fix then, yon rascal, the flusheree unit upon which thou sitteh. Kits available most Tru-Valu Hardware, about $19.95.

//yet which speak of the future. Which remains in our past,//

Varlet! Capulet Scum! Confuse us not with the tomorrow that so resembles the today shrouded in the mystery of the yesterday! and doan bogart that joint, pass it on.

//clusterfuck of overwrought and boring proportion //

Wowsers! Gotzme on that one! I vaguely remember a clusterfuck back in '75 that was wrought with overweight proportions, but shit, the mescaline was really good& so I always had this excuse that I didn't know what I was doing, see?

//Think they have a World Series for this?//

No, Bud, it is a Bowl Championship Series game. Or, a Blog Championship Post..........and there, my friend, YOU always kick the winning field goal. ;)

Beach Bum said...

I've got three short stories whose ideas flashed in my mind like a gift from friendly aliens before Christmas. Now with the holidays over and my wife and daughter not bleating my name every ten minutes I look at what I wrote and can't figure out where I was going and that 90% of it is crap.
Can't even take refuge in the History Channel which is going through "Armageddon Week" with Nostradamus being mentioned every hour.

susan said...

You're in good company . 3 volumes, each about 900 pages long and one of the trippiest, most astute (both politically and economically) I've ever read. You'd love Half-Cocked Jack and Eliza. Then again, maybe you've read it yourself.

Lisa said...

I had to listen to Nostradamus talk at work all day yesterday. Would you like for me to send you the transcript for ideas. Somedays the conversation at work could be a blogpost in itself. You should hear the Overt Racist on the topic of the end of the world. The black guy does it.

La Belette Rouge said...

I don't believe that it is as bad as you think, I know your writing and I just cannot believe you are being objective.

The good thing about the collapse of the publishing empire is that everything will be self-published e-books and there will be no grandpooba who will decide if our work is worthy or not.

S.W. Anderson said...

Randal, you need something to trigger your creativity. I humbly suggest that if you think you've scribbled nothing but crap so far, a few sessions of writing on rotgut will vault you into creating excreta the likes of which you can't imagine in a sober state.

Maybe a change of scene would help. A three-day Las Vegas getaway, maybe. If that's too pricy, hang out in an airport or a Denny's for 24 hours. Watch. Listen. Immerse.

Then, taking up your quill and parchment, go at it refreshed. There's nothing new under the sun, but you can be creative. Try whipping up a melange of Henry David Thoreau, Mickey Spillane and Dave Barry.

Remember, the possibilities are endless. Good luck!

KELSO'S NUTS said...

GRAVES: How about just enjoying one of the very few days you'll experience as an American in which the system worked. The consitution help. People of different colors, backgrounds, religions, and ideologies got together to exercise their rights and protect yours. And prevent the United States from becoming a banana republic in style, substance and law.

Wednesday was a good day to be a patriot up there, buddy. On Tuesday Harry Reid and President-elect Hawaii Pecs spat on the Constitution and carried on like cartel bosses putting an elderly man through a humiliation he never deserved. They did it in broad daying, in concert, and with malice and racise aforethought. I don't know who was worse, the racist cowardly bully, Reid or the cowardly, cowarardly bully, Obama.

I know who were heroes: Blagojevich, Burris, Rush and JUDICIAL WATCH as well as the federal judge who put their case against the US Senate on the calendar.

Not only does Roland Burris deserve his senate seat, he deserves an apology.

Reid and Obama deserve to be kicked in the shins. Obama twice. First for encouraging and enabling this shit and then when the case got scheduled, putting on his CIVIL RIGHTS CHAMPIONS' MASK and INSISTING THAT REID SEAT HIS PROUD BLACK BROTHER, BURRIS.

What fuckin chutzpah that guy has. At least I'm going to have probably eight years of busting up on him every day. This guy is such a jerk, I'm sure Michelle Obama will have to go for the Xanax and vodka like Laura did just to maintain her sanity.

pissed off patricia said...

Oh come on. If joe the plumber can write a book, so can you. Hell, Fred the Cat is even working on one and he's a real freaking cat, unlike joe the not a freaking plumber.

Bull said...

Dude, I live in a world of writer's block, which is good because I'm not a writer.

"My advice to you is to start drinking heavily."

"Better listen to him Flounder, he's in pre-med."

Oh...and enjoy "Eric Mangenius" a.k.a. "Bill Belichick's idiot-boy son."

Randal Graves said...

tom, dammit, if there isn't, there should be.

okjimm, I better write myself a note to make sure I don't forget that wax ring seal. Dude, the clusterfucks from '75 were bitchin' Camaros. Or so I was told, as I was too busy being a mere child, you old people, ha ha ha ha!

Oh no, now I'm going to have visions of the Bud Bowl!

BB, I hope you didn't throw your story ideas away! I know it's cliché as all hell, but you never know when you'll find a different tangent from your original plan.

I hope the History Channel found some new fundie preachers to replace disgraced ones like Ted The Meth King.

susan, I haven't read it, only heard the name. I just checked out the synopsis at the link and yeah, I know it's supposed to make it sound good, but it really does. I hate talented fuckers who can jam all kinds of genres and ideas in a massive work because that's what I wish I could do. A pox upon thee, Neal Stephenson!

lisa, I think you should definitely turn that into a blog post. And the black guy always does it. Excuse me, the communist, homosexual black guy.

LBR, oh, I firmly loathe my stuff and constantly second-guess myself. At least I'll know you'll buy a copy of the damn thing. Of course, with self-publishing taking over, there goes my grand plan to sell millions and buy seven châteaux in homage to McFossil.

SWA, it's funny you mention Denny's as the one near me closed down not too long ago. Think McDonald's might work? ;-)

kelso, Hawaii Pecs, hahahaha! It's about time they seated the dude. Look, the fucking Dems have made an art form of shooting themselves in the foot. Rod The Helmet, whether unsavory or not, has the right to choose. And aren't we supposedly trying to get past the guilt-by-association thing? I was glad to see folks like you and SWA and PoliShifter say that Burris should be seated. Harry Reid is mindnumbingly ineffectual and only comes out of this looking like an ass. Again. And it really would've been nice if Obama had said "seat the man." Are talking hairpieces doing the guilt thing that frightening? Have some nads.

POP, I'd wager that Fred has a better grasp of the English language as well. But can Fred be a war correspondent?

bull, "I thought you were in pre-law?"

"What's the difference?"

I'm not sure how I feel about the hire. It's not as if Lombardi was floating out there and I think our biggest problem is still personnel (poor D'Qwell Jackson, the only LB worth a damn in our 3-4), so we'll see. Go Chargers and Titans.

Anonymous said...

Have faith my friend. The economy will pick in time for you to sell your opus to the highest bidder, who will, no doubt, screw you out of your cut of the movie rights. As for writing and editing, don't sweat it. The author of this novel didn't. Look what it got him.

Übermilf said...

I shouldn't have used the word "whining." I realized that while I was walking the dog today.

You don't whine.

Maybe embittered, caustic bemoaning. But never whining.

Yes, I think about you when I walk my dog.

Randal Graves said...

spartacus, I love how one of the first things the entry says is that it was written in three weeks. I think I've spent that much on a single page. ;-)

übermilf, I'm not sure whether to be thrilled or frightened. But I must disagree, for I do in fact whine. And rest assured I'm kicking ideas around in my skull for drunken playwrighting.

Sherry Peyton said...

Having lots of empty space in one's skull is a good thing. If something really really good comes along, look at all the room you will have! I'm always fearful of over filling the brain. I think it seizes up and stops if you add in too much. I tell my Husband this constantly as he is always asking me insanely crazy questions and then asking me to look up the answer on the internet tomorrow. I refuse of course, but I'm deathly afraid the stuff sticks to a synapse or two anyway.

Freida of the Bees said...

I sure do hope you're not dissin' tiddlywinks here, Mr., 'cause if you are, you're messin' with me!

Anonymous said...