November 23, 2011
Just spent a few hours writing, now I think I’ll do some more writing. Or I’ll stare at the screen until my focus blurs and my left eye starts to close to compensate. That’s a sexy look. I’m afraid that when I write in public I get writer face, which is like musician face. One of my long-lost exes was a serious guitarist, and whenever he played, his upper lip would automatically flatten against his teeth. Also, my dad’s friend is a virtuoso pianist who scowls and raises his eyebrows and looks like he’s trying to play the piano with his face. I know I’ve caught myself grimacing with effort at times, sitting on the subway with my notebook on my knee, trying to get something down before it disappears, chewing my upper lip with my lower teeth. It’s really not as hard as I try to make it look.
I’ve managed to spend some time protesting and occupying over the past few weeks. Standing down at Liberty Square with my sign (Sunday’s was DON’T TAZE ME, BRO!), engaging in civil discourse about the human condition, has been very good for me. As an atheistic secular humanist/misanthrope, I don’t often get to discuss things like ethics and life’s purpose and the good v. evil paradigm with others, both those who agree with me and those who don’t. The closest I’ve ever come to such a forum was at Faceboy’s Sunday night open mike at Surf Reality, where I was a regular from 1999-2003. Faceboy had based his Sunday nights on the indigenous ritual of the talking stick, whereby one person holds the stick, and while they hold it, they are the only one who’s allowed to talk. When the person has finished speaking, they hand the stick to the next person, and then everybody shut ups and listens to the new bearer of the stick. I think most of the twelve step groups do something similar, except it’s whoever is holding the tissues. Everybody got eight minutes at Faceboy’s: the guy who picked up dead bodies for a living, the guy who did primal scream therapy on stage, the girl who pulled a knife out of her vaginal canal. Me, finding out that I needed to stop telling dick jokes and start telling the truth. It was a utopian society, except for all the assholes.
And now once again I confront the difference between writing for public consumption, and writing as I have been this month, with no thought of readership or commercial potential, or even craft, really. I wrote 1800 words in 90 minutes today, and just now I just spent a full forty-five minutes writing and deleting a new paragraph to no avail, and it’s 1:37 a.m. and my eyeballs are so dry, they’re chafing the inside of my lids. 465 words, in only two hours! Good thing I inhibited myself 27,000 times instead of writing freely! I don’t even mean that sarcastically; it is a good thing, because I have fucked myself over too many times by writing freely.
I could be so much more prolific, if only nobody needed to read it.