My newest addiction is reading books. I can't stop. Inside of two weeks, I've crushed seven books and read several passages from The Paris Review Compendium which is 750 page rat killer of a hardcover collection of articles, interviews, and poems. They interviewed Hunter S. Thompson about doing drugs and writing and he honestly told them it was easier to write on acid than it was to write on weed.
I completed Philip K. Dick's biography, Divine Invasions. For the most of his career in the 1950s he wrote while jacked up on speed and other painkillers. Although he denied ever writing some of his stories on LSD in the late 1960s, he admitted to coming up with ideas during discussions on a few hits of liquid sunshine. Some of his short stories and novels are bizarre and he was clearly operating on a different plane. I admired his dedication to writing and his daily output.
Perhaps I should develop an addiction to speed? I'd sleep less and write more...
I read three poker books, two of which Hunting Fish and Why You Lose at Poker were written by people I know (Jay Greenspan and Russ Fox). My mind is poker friendly these days and the burn out is over. I still get miffed or frustrated sometimes about certain aspects of the game and the industry, but for the most part the time away from the scene ended up being a positive break. I enjoy almost every aspect of poker again which is necessary because without it, I'd be completely broke.
Chuck Klosterman has become one of my favorite authors and has become the example I'd use to explain what I'd like to do in the future with my writing. He gets to write books about music and pop culture like his latest book IV and he also has a column at ESPN. Yes, if there's a literary agent looking to sign me... I want the Chuck Klosterman deal.
Although if I can get anything close to a Jay Greenspan deal, I'd be more than elated. When you're super savvy and powerful like Jay, you get paid in blow and hookers. No paper trail, either, so the federalies can't tax you on your income.
Yes, sometimes I get bitter about the government making money off of my creativity. Sometimes I think we don't get taxed enough in some areas but then I see what they are wasting it on. But what sucks is waiting a few months to get a pay check from Fox Sports for two months of work and knowing that I can't even touch a cent of it because it's going to pay my taxes for 2006. Getting paid in hookers and blow makes sense. Heck, if the IRS wants either, I'd be happy to share.
I finally finished The Comedy Writer by Peter Farrelly. He's part of the Farrelly Brother's who have made hilarious flicks like Something About Mary and Outside Providence. Peter wrote a book about an East Coaster who got dumped by his girlfriend so he moved to Hollyweird to become a comedy writer. Hiijinks ensue in the fish out of water tale set in 1990.
BG gave me the book two summers ago and even wrote an inscription. I start-stopped that book twice and got as far as 100+ pages both times and never finished either for lack of interest or due to a hectic travel schedule. I always feel bad when I don't read books that friends give me AND took the time to write an inscription. So I sucked it up and started from the beginning. I cranked out 355 pages in two days and put that fucker away in a milk crate that stores other books that friends gave me over the years and wrote something nice in them. No matter how broke I go, I'll never sell those.
OK, that was a lie. For now, they're untouchable and that's all that matters. For now...
The cool part of The Comedy Writer was that the book had more relevance for me on the third attempt. I spent more time in LA this year than any other city aside from Las Vegas and the descriptions of LA are more vivid for me. Plus the main character lives in a studio not too far away from Nicky's apartment. When the author mentions La Cienega, I know exactly what he's talking about.
Next up... The Devil's Picnic that writer Storms Reback gave me at the WSOP. At this rate, I'll have it done by Wednesday night.
The weather in NYC was shitty last week... both wet and cold. I felt sickly all week, but never full on sick. I was always on the verge of either getting worse or better and got stuck in the blah phase for a full week. I skipped running for six days to rest my bum knee. Even without the exercise, I still managed to gain zero pounds despite the Turkey Day feast.
With extra time freed up, I jumped into book reading again. I have not been reading at this accelerated rate in years... easily since before 9.11. That's when I lived in my dark studio without cable TV and this was pre-blogging and I didn't even have a laptop.
I'd sit on my terrace and listen to old Jazz albums like Monk's Dream by Thelonoius Monk or Love Supreme by John Coltrane and read for several hours straight by candle light. Caught up in a terrible bought of insomnia and uninspired to write, my moody, broke, unemployed self had nothing to do except read and read and read. I was painting on and off during that time and that's only when I had supplies. Most of the time I painted until the paint and canvas ran out and then I sat around and tried to suppress the depression and insomnia with a book. Or two.
I read over a hundred books in 2001 and that's being conservative. I can't recall how many I started and never finished. These days, I cure the insomnia with writing or poker and I spend more time reading blogs, newspapers, and magazines online due to better internet access. But for the late 90s and for most of the early 21st century, that all I used to do was read. I got lazy, distracted, and forgot how addictive reading was for me. I used to get depressed about all the books I'd never read and decided that was pointless. I stopped wasting my energy crying about the situation and picked up a book. Then another... and another.