Tuesday, December 27, 2005


It felt weird to have nothing to do, that is, not having a deadline looming overhead. I wrote 100% for myself today and it felt great. I read all my daily reads without having to rush it. I even surfed for Swedish porn this afternoon and lost money playing on Poker Stars.

I told factgirl last night that I won't be traveling anywhere for almost four weeks. Usually I know the exact days I have before I embark on a new journey. For now, I'm content being in one place for a while and not thinking about the next destination. Yeah, I wouldn't mind if it was a lot warmer, like in Miami or San Diego. But the cool and crisp air is a reminder of the seasons. Life is about cycles and seasons. Right now, I'm on the verge of starting a new cycle in life. I know that I have to take the last few days of the year to rest and get my mind in good shape before I start a writing binge.

I've been reading a friend's manuscript. It's been my bathroom and subway book. Reading work from my peers is inspiring. I can appreciate the time at the keyboard they spent working in their craft. I know other writers who can grow insanely jealous and freak out in bookstores. Me? I take a moment and take it all in whenever I enter a bookstore... a real bookstore, not one of those megastores with eighteen floors and dipshit $5 hour employees who can't spell Dostoevsky to save their lives. I'm talking about walking into a real bookstore where you can smell the decomposing pages of old books and taste the angst from all the angry artists brooding in the corner flipping the pages of a random art book.

There's a ton of history off the pages of those books. If you set the politics of publishing aside and focus on the work and the sweat from the individual artist, then you just don't see piles of books. You see thousands of hours of passionate thought and selfless creativity transferred from the inner mind to the written page. Sure, I loathe chick lit like no other. I mean how many books can you write about "Oh, I wish I can find a guy who will love me for me" and about shopping binges? Last I checked there were thousands of them. At some point the chick lit bubble will burst and there will be a demand for rambling dissertations on gratuitous drug use in bathroom stalls in trendy Barcelona nightclubs and deviant sexuality in no-tell-motels in yawn-inducing towns such as Salinas or Elko.

In the meantime, I'm still stuck writing about poker and keeping my fingers crossed that someone out there will give me a shot as a novelist. I still have dreams.

I finished Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, which Wil recommended to me. I suggest you take a look at Blink. Definitely a book that makes you think about perception and gut feelings.

A friend (who's entire friendship I have to question now... please read on) sent me a copy of A Million Little Pieces. I was excited to read it until I saw a big fat fuckin' circle on the cover that said "Oprah's Book Club."

I threw it out.

I'm such an asshole. I called that friend up and apologized to her voicemail.

She cried when she called me back. Good for her. Usually I get uncomfortable when women cry. But she deserved this one. She knew better than to give me a goddammed Oprah book. This is the horrible result of a relocation from hipster section of town to a tony little suburb. The change in tap water is enough to melt your mind. She became one of those people... who give real writers commercial books to mess with their heads.

That's the type of shit that gets you on "To Kill" lists just n case anarchy takes form like it did on the streets of the Big Easy in the days post-Hurricane Katrina.

She tried to pitch me on the, "Don't give up on a great piece of literature just because Oprah's involvement."

"I'm sorry, sweetie. But literature and Oprah should not be mentioned in the same breath. I'm naming the next hooker in a future book after you now."

I've been listening to a ton of Pink Floyd. I go through phases where I devour a ton of material from a band in a short period. I like to compare and contrast their different periods. It reminds me that all great creative people such as writers, musicians, and painters all have different periods and styles where their external life and inspirations influence the direction of their work.

It's very important to take a look at the writer I was reading the most before I started a book. That inspiration sets the tone. In the past Haruki Murakami, Philip Roth, Henry Miller, and Earnest Hemingway were a few authors who individually influenced the direction of four different books that I have written. Right now, I've been reading a lot of Kurt Vonnegut and reading a ton of Kierkagaard. I'm sure somehow those two are going to affect how I write.

Time to read for an hour then win some money on Poker Stars.

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