When the Levity Breaks

Story ideas. What can I say about them that hasn’t already been said? It’s like a sperm bank in my head! (Is that’s what’s called a double entendre?)

If I could, I’d spend 5 hours straight every day writing. I don’t think I could write for more than that. That’s just me. But at least I’m getting 3 hours or more a night. Anything to get the fingers working and the mind flooded with stories.

And I’m just one of thousands of writers. Imagine if we all put our creative minds together and took over this fucked-up world? Just think about it for, say, oh, I don’t know, a minute.

I bet you’ll get a story out of it.

The Hills Are Alive With Barbarian Cries

What a glorious day! I spent some of it at the harbour. Harassing young buds into flowering maturity.

Here’s something I’ve learnt: Children are midget adults. They are not kids. They have all the complex circuitry, but aren’t programmed yet.

Actually, I find adults a lot more annoying than kids. Adults like to play farcical games under the table. Or on top of it.

I think adults are tainted. I know I am by lots of random deviations and by the social pecking order that everybody has turned a blind eye to in the name of mediocrity.

But I love populating my books with characters ( then I can kill of the petty, annoying ones), but I must say that I’m not a social animal. If I was, I’d be living in an anthill, wouldn’t I?

Plus if we are social animals, why the hell are there all these No Trespassing signs in Maine? I’m getting mixed messages all the time when I look around me. On one hand everyone is told to yodel “sense of community,” and then in their next barbarian breath they scream “Get the fuck off my land!”

How’s a man to cope?

Spend time alone writing. Works for me.

The Last Frontier

I’m a relatively well-read sort of misfit. And the other day, while snow was exposing its true, cruel nature in Maine, I read that the Brahmin of the virtual world, the Facebook maven Mark Zuckerberg, say that privacy is a cultural anachronism.

He hasn’t been in my car recently!

I will go out on an isthmus and state that the car is the last bastion of privacy. Go ahead, sit in one and see. But make sure to turn off the radio, ditch the iPhone. Then drive off — or simply sit in your driveway, lights off, doors locked. Before very long you’ll be left to yourself. And the longer you drive, the more you feel that privacy creeping up slowly. Even stuck between other cars, you’ll be in your own private automobile. And before long, you’ll be racing by other hermetically-sealed drivers like a bug preserved in amber. Nobody can reach you, get in touch with you. All responsibility, although it may appear to be close, is another optical illusion like the fading cars in your side-mirror.

This is privacy, you’ll yell, pressing hard on the gas, strumming your fingers on the steering wheel. And you’ll feel the guazy, silken social networking slip from around your neck.

And you can prolong this freedom indefinitely by doing a cross-country jaunt.

Or you can enjoy it in small intervals, driving back roads, amazed at your own sense of abandonment. And if you were just a little madder than you are, you might even consider pulling over, standing before a thawing lake surrounded by the shivering shadows of osiers, all alone, with the car’s engine idling behind you.

In fact, the only time you have to stop is when you need gas. But even then, you don’t have to interact with a single soul. You can bound out of your private vehicle, slip in your plastic, and fill up without ever having to interact.

Even if you have to piss, the only thing (in Maine, at least) that you might disturb is a young buck, four-pronged, peering at you with that kind of self-possessed independence.

I’m all for driving. It’s the last frontier for privacy. And the only “cultural anachronism” I see as I’m reveling in my solitude are all the empty houses I pass, the inhabitants gone for long and longer hours in the day, coming home just to eat, sleep, and dream of a privacy that is passing them by on four wheels in the solitary dark.

“We know nothing about where political systems come from. We don’t even know where they don’t come from. And considering the shiftless, slave-trading, bed-hopping, debt-ducking (and that’s just Thomas Jefferson) nature of America’s founding fathers, who also included rum-soaked bunkum merchants and Indian-massacring land swindlers (and they all oppressed women and weren’t vegans), we should be careful about saying that certain societies or nationalities or religious persuasions aren’t ‘ready for democracy.’ ” PJ O’Rourke, Don’t Vote It Just Encourages the Bastards

Weird Tales

“The old Greeks and Latins were the keenest thinkers the world so far has seen; yet they believed in ghosts, omens, and premonitions. Only a brave man dare express all he believes.” Forbes Phillips, War & The Weird

“A soldier sees something super-natural. Some one says I know a hundred or a thousand soldiers who did not see it. A man may witness a murder. His evidence is accepted in the law courts. They do not call the hundred thousand people who did not see it in proof that no murder was perpetrated. Few people know the fundamental principles of evidence. More people misuse it.” Forbes Phillips, War & The Weird

Better the Somnabulist You Know

I’m a long-time David Sylvian fan. We go way back. Like to Japan and the New Romantic movement and Sylvian being voted one of the world’s hottest men.

He’s branched out since then: think espaliered fruit tree bearing many odd-tasting but never boring fruits.

His latest collection is Sleepwalkers. It’s a round-up of orphan songs from his solo work as well as collaborations with his brother Steve Jansen (Nine Horses), Ryuichi Sakamoto, Burnt Friedman, Christian Fennesz, Arve Henriksen, and more. And it’s a lush zoetrope of Sylvianesque minerals and pearls.

But an added bonus is the artwork. Talk about otherwordly, gothic daguerreotypes! The photographer is Kristamas Klousch (http://kristamas.net/section/112167.html). She definitely works with one hand in a Lewis Carroll glove and the other in Weimar-era cabaret. Her work almost give off this mercurial vapour. I wanted to take a bite (with fangs, no less), the way I always want to take a bite of Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” I could spend hours with Klousch’s work and then go off for some table-tipping.

In the Arms of Ephiphany

Oh, when it takes you, it takes you!

I’m talking about a sudden realization. That fey thing that kicks you in the balls. And you wonder, how the hell did that happen from such an inconsequential nothingness?

Where am I going with this? To the plexus, to the nexus, to the yellow-brick road?

Right, here’s the smack, cornbread, Double Decker on ice.

As a writer, I get that emu feeling from time to time: the proverbial head in the sand. All the usual demons, the most horned one always being: lack of things published.

But then PC 99 pops into my head:

“What’s all this then?”

“Was I speeding officer?”

“No, but you were whingeing. And this the autobahn of self expression.”

Oh, yes, right, the writer thing. Don’t take it so damn seriously until you have to: in front of the keyboard. And even then, allow for unknown pleasures, exquisite corpses.

It’s like this. I write even when there’s no reason to. No money, no readership, no agent, no publisher, no marketer, no fife and drum.

Here endeth the lesson.

The lesson: I’ve got mine, don’t worry about his.

Aspects of A Novel Idler

E.B. White wrote: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”

As a self-addled idler, I say screw the former part of that personal conundrum and let’s fall helplessly into the enjoy part. Mixing hedonistic pastimes with little bursts of languid philosophy, I like to take a lazy swipe at the idea that so much thinking is now done for us that it’s damn time we indulged in all kinds of idleness until we are all over Descartes “I think therefore I am.”

The 17th century, metaphysical poet Andrew Marvell wrote: “But at my back I always hear/ Time’s winged chariot hurrying near.”

What dominates the wholesome vista is a sense that everything we do must be productive, should be moving toward a sane and balanced end. The idea that you would do something just for the momentary blissful escape of it, for intensity, for feelings and sensations, is so out of fashion, it’s like spitting on Oscar Wilde’s grave!

Each hour has to be like the next hour. Every day has to be exactly the same. When that whistle blows (not at five anymore, darling, think more 5:15),  you have to be there. “Time discipline” is what they called it in the nineteenth century. Why is it that I feel like I no longer have control over what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it?  Everybody, it seems (including me) is fighting to get back control of their time. And that’s a fight worth fighting for!

I’ll end on a more positive thought: Sex is really a religious predicament; a faith in the eternal erection.