New York City, Jan. 2006
The winter winds finally whipped up. It had be relatively mild the last few weeks since I got back from Las Vegas. I felt strange walking around in spring like weather in early January. Then winter took control once again. Thinking about heading to warm places like Miami or California sounds very appealing to me as I scanned the discount fares on JetBlue. Ah, but the weather is why I was able to focus on the task at hand. With nothing pulling me outdoors or giving me an excuse to go outside, I was able to hibernate and hole myself up for two weeks. 14 very long days and nights. I think I had about 11 days in that span. I stayed up two or three nights writing so I technically lost a day or two in there.
130,000 words is a massive output. I wrote almost that much in a month once. But that was over four weeks and not two. The scary thing is that I have more to write. I got 50-70K more to say. I wish I had one more week to say it. One of my favorite movies is Wonder Boys where Michael Douglas plays a pothead writer/college professor who can't seem to finish a book while spurning the sexual advances of Katie Holmes. He had over 2000 pages worth of a book he couldn't finish. We didn't have the same problem. I knew where I wanted to go and he didn't. Some sections took me longer for me to tell that story and then in some sections I condensed entire chapters into a couple of paragraphs to speed things along. That's how scary this project had become. I can't possible say what I want to say about Las Vegas in less than 250,000 words. A quarter of a million? That's what it looks like this project is headed. That would be 4 or 5 times bigger than any book I wrote. Indeed what I have right now can be split up into two books. And the last part could definitely be a third book. I should see if I could condense everything into 100K words. Something smaller, compact, tight and powerful. Where every page describes the insanity and intensity of that city. I wish I had a full year to write the book. I' gave myself two weeks and I juggled around my schedule to fit two more week in there.
I'm so glad that I don't live in Las Vegas anymore. You have to mentally capable to handle the depravity of that town. I was very close to moving to Las Vegas full time. I have to go back this summer for a few months regardless and I figure that it would be easier to stay in one spot as long as possible. But the more I thought about it and the more time I spent away from Las Vegas, I discovered that I loved it less and less. Seeing things from the other side gave me a tainted and foul vision of Sin City. I did my best to capture that in the book and at time I never felt more depressed than in Las Vegas. And at the same time it was one of the few places I experienced some of the most pleasurable moments of my life. Good times. Bad times. Peaks and valleys. There were points when Las Vegas made me so crazy that I felt like I was the village drunk out of an Irish novel. Complete with urine stained pants too.
I fell back in love with New York City again. Nothing specific. But the anonymity is priceless. There's nothing humbling that walking down a crowded street and having people knock you over if you aren't paying attention. An entire city flowed and it you didn't mesh, you got ran over. I missed riding the subways and people watching. Trying to figure out people's life stories. Trying to peek into their world. If only for a few minutes. I missed sitting in diners and listening to Briana ramble on incessantly about the most trivial things from how she really loves her new shampoo to how bad the coffee tasted that morning at Starbucks. I missed sitting on my brother's couch and watching basketball.
I guess places like Las Vegas fabricate reality and try to make the Nevada desert seem like some place else, some place exotic. Fly to Vegas. Get wasted. Lose all your money. Go home happy. Maybe you'll get laid or be one of the rare winners. You only have to win once. That's enough to make you go back the rest of your life. A big score? Ever hit one? Gambling when you shouldn't? When you are broke? Especially when you invested very little? It took me over two years to turn $200 into $10K and there was a time I turned $50 into $5K in less than six weeks. That rush is something you chase the rest of your life. That's why gamblers always return to Las Vegas.
Jenna had a party. I thought it was weird that she had one on a Monday.
"Are we celebrating MLK day?"
"Golden Globes party. Dress nicely."
Ah that's right. My friends like to get all dressed up and throw Golden Globe and Oscar parties. It ends up becoming a drunken "shout at the TV ruckus" where everyone instantly became a fashion critic and railed on the poor clothing choices of their favorite celebrities.
"But I haven't seen too many movies this year," I said hoping to get out of going. It was true. I used to see a steady influx of flicks in NYC. Mostly independent and arty films but even the occasional blockbuster. Since I was on the road so much, I had very little time to sit down and rent a movie. I missed out on a lot of films both good and bad. I'm backlogged a good 12-15 months. I'm waiting for a serious bout of depression to set in where I get completely anti-social for four months and I don't go out in public and I order pizza six times a week and watch movies non-stop and download Brazilian Amateur She-male porn. As soon as I start up my Netflix account again, I'll have a ton of flicks to see.
Usually those awards parties were a good chance to win serious amounts of cash off of rookie prop gamblers. And we're not talking basic who's going to win what category. I'm talking about which winner thanks God and who gets mentioned first... spouse or agent. Once you get enough hipsters drunk enough on overpriced wine in a crowded NYC apartment, they'll be willing to bet on anything involving celebrities.
Gay cowboys. I heard there's a movie about gay cowboys. And it's not a period piece set in the West Village in the late 1970s. Gay cowboys. Real ones. How about Snakes on a Plane? Only in America can we export two different artistic expressions, both in the same medium, yet polar opposites in form.
Brokeback Mountain. Two guys in love. On horses. A western? A love story? A modern-day examination of frontier life?
Snakes on a Plane. Deadly snakes. On a plane. In the air. Nowhere to run to. Nowhere to hide. And a wise cracking Samuel L. Jackson saving the world from a plane full of snakes.
Someone had balls to make a movie about gay cowboys. Someone had the balls to make a movie about snakes on a plane. There are some risk takers in that town. Maybe one will take a shot at me.
My first ever manuscript Jack Tripper Stole My Dog was reviewed by a major studio. However, they decided to pass. Sorry folks. Ivan the Russian can driver will not be appearing at a theatre near you.Here's what a slick Hollywood studio exec said to me about Jack Tripper Stole My Dog:
"I finished your book. I laughed my ass off. Have you had a lot of fucked up relationships with women? I mean seriously? He flushes her head in a toilet? Man, you need to meet a normal chick, some sweet girl to bake you cookies."Our conversation gave me confidence to breathe life into an old project. I'm going to find a month to take off to write a new draft and make some much needed improvements. JTSMD is my next project. It's much more appealing to me than moving to Hollyweird.... right now. Unless they happen to need a writer to pen the sequel to Snakes on a Plane.
Recent Writing Music...
1. Van Morrison
2. The Flaming Lips
3. John Scofield with Soulive
4. My Morning Jacket
5. Curtis Mayfield