Los Angeles, CA
March was a very selfish month.
I finished the final draft of Lost Vegas in February and submitted that manuscript to both of my editors as I eagerly waited for them to finish up their notes and comments. For the majority of the month, I did things that I wanted to do. That's it. I got all of my freelance work out of the way and I focused on personal projects -- strengthening up the blog empire. I somehow completed a forced migration of three blogs and whipped up three basic, yet new templates. And now we're in the process of doing the same with Coventry. I never really saw that as "work" even though for a week straight that's all I did in my spare time. Sometimes, things are simply more pleasurable because it's for something that is entirely your own instead of something you're doing for someone else.
At the same time, I reinvigorated myself with collaboration projects like Truckin' and Coventry. I'm a hired thug in the poker media world and go where the money flows. I work a lot of solo gigs and occasionally in a small unit (much like the special forces they send us to remote areas to get a job done). All that solo mercenary stuff pays the bills, that's why it's cool to work together with friends on more fun projects and more creative ventures. Inspiration through collaboration.
My only major work assignment for the month of March was canceled because of an earthquake, so I was left alone in LA to delve deep into an end of month bender that included eight days (thank God they were broken up into two four-day segments) of nonstop gambling and basketball. I don't do that much anymore -- sit endlessly in front of the TV for hours on end and scream like a madman. If it weren't for Twitter I wouldn't have much contact with the external world during these binges.
I guess I engaged in behavior typical of the average American, who digests four or five hours of the boob tube a day and twice as much on the weekends. I guess people don't have the stomach to sit in bars and drink every night, or simply can't afford to go out and entertain themselves. It's not like anyone is going to open up a book and read for fuck's sake so the TV is a cheap alternative for entertainment. Shit, these days you're shelling out $100 a month to the cable companies, so you might as well sit down and enjoy a couple of hours.
I guess that's why marijuana and TV go hand-in-hand. I simply can't watch regular TV unless I'm stoned to the tits. The only exceptions: when I'm flying JetBlue and if I'm watching a sporting event in a sportsbook or bar, which means I'm probably drinking or just returned from smoking weed outside. I guess that's why I can't watch network news and the alphabet networks inform me of the happenings. Either I see through their bullshit, or it's old news to me and I'm outraged at the watered down and filter version that eventually hits the airwaves.
But cartoons are fantastic when you're stoned an they suck me in, that's why I avoid those channels at all costs. I try to avoid reality shows and limit myself to random food shows (reality food shows are acceptable because the food is the actual star). As soon as commercial comes on, my instinctually fingers goes up or down on the remote. So the most compelling thing to my stoned gourd gets a ten second trial. That includes anything related to science, space, oceans, and the History Channel.... Nicky and I watched a bit of ancient aliens, then some of Psychic Kids, a few minutes of Blow with Johnny Depp (we always catch it at the same fucking scene when he meets Pablo Escobar), before I figure out that three minutes have passed and I fumble for the next two looking for the channel where ancient aliens was on.
I'm gonna miss the TV. I don't expect to hang out much more with it once April arrives and I embark on nine months of nonstop work and traveling.
The beginning of April is gonna be tough. Easter with the family. Watching opening day for the Yankees with my brother. Tax stuff. Finance crap. Work assignment. Blah blah blah. The rest of the month is devoted to publishing Lost Vegas because the month of May is set aside for WSOP preparation, freelance work, and getting ahead as much as I can with other projects. The first month of May is brutal but it eases up at the end when I unwind for a few days and relax during the calm before the storm.
I guess that's what the last couple of weeks were... the calm before the rainy season. The constant craziness of life takes over and will not stop until January of 2010 and shit, today I got an email that pseudo-confirms that I'll be in Europe at that time promoting the French version of Lost Vegas. Now, if I can finally get the edits complete...
I actively set aside a couple of days in March to work on Truckin'. Not "hours" like I usually do, but setting aside half-day sized chunks of time where all I did was write fiction. New stories. I wrote about four new pieces and re-wrote two. I also had more time to work on updating the author archives, which were a pain in the ass to create, but well worth the blood & sweat when I saw the finished product. I've been fortunate to collaborate with many talented friends, which in itself is truly inspiring which is part of the reason why I continue to Truckin' tradition. God knows how many times I wanted to give up and stop publishing.
The short fiction form appeals to my fragmented time. Time is my enemy these days and I never have enough. I really wish I had more time to work on major projects (hence why it took five years to write Lost Vegas), but I made an effort to maximize my time with Truckin'. I wanted to improve my storytelling ability and create content for Truckin' at the same time. Each short story that I wrote this year germinated from an exercise in a different style, tone, or technique. Plus, I'm a much better editor these days which means I'm no longer posting first drafts of short stories that I whipped up in an hour on the morning of Truckin's deadline. The only thing more lazy is when I cut and paste old blog entries -- with the only editing being a more thorough spellcheck.
I diligently worked on April and May's issues last week and I'm eagerly awaiting submissions for the summer issues. I already wrote four stories for the three summer issues, well four and a half... because and I still have a story from Uruguay (inspired by a trip there last month) tinkering around inside my loins. I still have about six weeks until the deadline, so I'm hoping I can get at least ten submissions in that time.
Everyone has a funny or somber story to tell. What is yours?