Absolute Beginner

The rain it raineth every day in Maine! And someone on my street is getting a well drilled. Why not just set out a few buckets?

Had we but world enough, and time…. Actually, I do have enough time on my side and I have been doing some light reading: Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Calvino’s Cosmicomics, Duncan’s The Last Werewolf, Swamplandia, Simmons’ The Terror, Saunders’ CivilWarLand,Donald Barthelme’s short stories, and Stanislaw Lem’s The Cyberiad.

My job search is still a work in progress. I have applied to everything from a post at the Republican Journal to a freelance copy editor job at HBO to working as a faucet in the kitchen sink.

“This is one moment,/ But I know that another/ Shall pierce you with a sudden painful joy.” TS Eliot

I’ve also been applying for a teaching gig, but, get behind the fool if it isn’t almost impossible to break into this line of work without a bruiser or simony. I don’t have enough teaching experience, and won’t get any if nobody takes a chance on me, Abba-style, and adjunct positions are now the new feudal economy. It bites the biscuit. And I have an MFA but I can’t teach high school English!? I feel like an English aristocrat with a big manor and not money to buy himself a fucking brolly. I sometimes think Jude the Obscure and I would have a lot to talk about in the pursuit of happiness. But, then, I’ve never done things according to civilized conduct.

“I’m all lost in the supermarket, I can no longer shop happily….”

I feel mildly like what’s his name, you know, Caedmon, that herdsman in Whitby around AD 680 who rushes back to his cows instead of singing at the feast.

Where’s a Gilles de Rais when you need one?

And between me and my shadow, the writing world can sometimes, well, loose its romantic ideal and give way to routine. And everywhere I look now all I see are writers loaded down with degrees and accomplishments and happy, professional smiles. What the hell happened to writers who are exiles, outsiders, runaways, castaways? Did I fall asleep like Rip Van Winkle while somebody pinched my idea of a writer? As someone with an MFA, whatever happened to writers whose imaginations detonated life? Or writers who didn’t come out of the binding fully formed without a blemish, without a writerly deformity or failing? Am I not reading enough? Am I living too much a sheltered life in my cosmos while the incandescent form around me? Is my individual path as a writer merely atoms scattered in curved space? And when they kick down my front door, how am I going to come, with my hands on my head or on the trigger of my gun?

“My life had stood – a loaded gun.” Dickinson

“Life was beautiful in those days.” Calvino

I know, I should Twitter about my frustrations and get a jolly following of custard pies.

Instead, I’m listening to the 80s Scottish band Lowlife. Damn if the lead singer doesn’t have a voice like a fallen angel walking Dante’s dark wood. And I’m lounging with Pigbag, post-punk English band with fusion running in their musical veins.


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