Monday, August 24, 2009

Sleeping Boxes

By Pauly
New York City

I spent a full week in New York City for the first time in... I can't remember when. I spent most of my free time in LA this year working on Lost Vegas so my time on the East Coast was limited. If Phish didn't play three separate instances (March, June and August, I might have only been back once to the East Coast.

I spent the most time sleeping in NYC. Sleep is such a rare thing for me. I never get enough of it and I'm always rushing against the clock for something so I cut down on sleep in order to get work done. It's been a profitable venture over the years, but right now, I've been hurting and aching.

This week, my body was begging me to slow down, so I listened and I slept twice as much as I usually do. Instead of three to four, I logged around seven of hours of rest every day. In the last six months, I pushed myself to the physical limits with kicking pharmies, completing the final draft of Lost Vegas, then a move to Las Vegas for the WSOP interrupted by 20 days on Phish tour before it was three intense weeks of the WSOP followed up by three straight weeks on the road in a whirlwind carnival of guilty pleasures including getting hooked on pharmies again.

I slept and loafed around when I wasn't in meetings about Lost Vegas and reading notes and edits while re-reading the manuscript. I'm very close to the goal line and my body needed a time out to rest up for the last spurt. Sadly, it would take me three or four months of inactivity in order for my body and mind to catch up on all the rest that it desperately needs. I can't stay unplugged for more than three days without getting antsy. How could I withstand three weeks or even three months?

Maybe when Lost Vegas is finally over, I can just shut everything off for a while.

On a side note, I found myself less attached to the machines than normal. I've spent a significant amount of time outdoors this summer and plenty more road hours inside a car as both a driver and passenger which limited my connectivity. My phone has limited web capabilities (mostly email and twitter and ESPN which is like 85% of my online usage these days anyway except blogger and porn). It was kinda cool to read two emails on my beatdown phone when I was sitting at the counter of the Greek diner waiting for my breakfast. It was even better that the emails were involved getting paid for services rendered this summer.

My goal earlier in the year was to spend more time reading books and less timereading trash on the intertubes. That experiment produced splendid results and I hope to return to that procudre upon my return to NYC. I tend to write better when I read a variety of top notch writing.

I spent a little time in Manhattan over the last week, aside from a few business-related lunches. It was just too friggin hot to be outdoors, so I stayed inside and enjoyed the AC and sorted through piles of snail mail and read thousands of backlogged email.

The snail mail never ends. Junk mail. Loads of it. Car dealerships. Credit card companies. American Express won't stop sending me stuff about their different colored cards. Plum. Purple. Fuchsia. Double Platinum. I got loads of stuff from my former educational institutions. My high school sent out a few alumni magazines and my college wants money. Lots of it. I heard the endowment took a huge hit in the last two years. Oh well. That's not my problem.

The mountain is actually a representation of the fruits of my labor. I have a stack of poker magazines that I write for or have written for in the past. Some paychecks are mixed up in the mountain of mail, some of which I earned for churning out drivel for the same magazines and newspapers. I fished out a few bank statements, credit card bills, and the dreaded portfolio update from Goldman Sachs or Smith Barney. These days, I don't have much in the market so I don't even bother looking at the statements. The market has been up slightly, but I'm still stuck a chunk of money that I dunno if I'll ever see again.

I also had to clean up my storage space in New York. Paintings from the early 2000s were scattered about and I had piles of books (both read and unread) that were stacked five and six feet high. I finally organized everything in banker's boxes and did a better job stacking my paintings to save space. Now I have white banker's boxes stacked high with old things and memories I still want to hold onto for a little while longer.

I also stumbled upon a box of old notebooks from as far back as 1994 and even some things I scribbled down in the early 1990s. The pen and the paper were the tools of the trade back then. And in the last few months, the physical notebooks I had with me were either soaked by the rain or lost by yours truly. I need to hire an assistant from India to scan every single page of old notebooks and journals.

I also found copies of old manuscripts including the re-write of the second go-around at Jack Tripper Stole My Dog. I also found the head-scratching screenplay version of Baby & Winky. I thumbed through pages of those including the last NaNoWriMo novel I completed in 2004 called Gumbo. I read it aloud, sometimes in awe of the lines strung together but most of the time I cringed at all of the mistakes or the amount of displaced angry that rattled through each word.

I also found an old box of concert tickets with a few stubs from Knicks and Yankees games. Lots of Phish and plenty of random show in New York City at Irving Plaza or Bowery Ballroom. I used to go see one or two concerts a week, sometimes more, when Senor and I both lived in the city. Times have changed. In LA, there are a few cool venues but parking and driving creates an added headache. The Mint is a few blocks from our apartment, but it always seems like we're out of town whenever someone we like is booked to play there.

At least I've been getting some writing time in usually late at nights since I've been sleeping a lot in the mornings. I haven't strayed over towards re-writing Lost Vegas just yet. I'm still letting those thoughts and changes fester and I'll work on those changes in Los Angeles. Right now, I've been trying to organize my thoughts from the this summer including the events covered in the three destroyed/lost notebooks.

Someday, I'll go through all of my old little sketch books that I used to write in when I worked at the museum. I'll use those as a jumping point for that book that I hope to write someday about working in the musuem world in the mid-1990s in New York City.

I realized that I'm in a good headspace because there's too much stuff I want to write about but not enough time. It's when those ideas run dry when I'm really in trouble.

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