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NaNoWriMo, Kingsley Amis, and the Mythos of the Alcoholic Writer

8 Nov

image courtesy of the aptly named sabotagetimes.com

 

In my 20’s, I read quite a bit of Martin Amis. Somehow, I have managed to not read any Kingsley Amis and I think I am going to have to rectify that gap in my literary education very soon. I stumbled across this excellent article about Kingsley Amis when I was digging around trying to find the quotation about “metaphysical hangovers” that my roommate and I used to talk about so long ago. I never forgot that! From the article ” Madman About Town: The Life and Times of Kingsley Amis”:  “Kingsley has written often and poignantly about that moment when getting drunk suddenly turns into being drunk,” wrote Martin Amis, “and he is, of course, the laureate of the hangover.” Ah, the mythos of the alcoholic writer. This mythos kept me trapped in a cycle of drunkenness for decades. Personally, my writing got worse and worse as I got drunker and drunker and eventually it stopped completely. Staying wet dried me out. No thanks, I’ll take sobriety. Articles like this are a great reminder for me.

I wanted to do National Novel Writing Month again this year, but yoga is not going to fit well into a routine of frantic writing for 5-6 hours a day for 30 days straight. Maybe next year! I did it in 2009 and actually finished a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It was an amazing experience that I got to have because I was sober. If you’ve never done it, definitely try it at least once.

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

http://www.drunkard.com/issues/08_05/0805_kingsley.htm

What Happens When I Am Up Way Too Late

6 Aug

 

 

 

“But even so, every now and then I would feel a violent stab of loneliness. The very water I drink, the very air I breathe, would feel like long, sharp needles. The pages of a book in my hands would take on the threatening metallic gleam of razor blades. I could hear the roots of loneliness creeping through me when the world was hushed at four o’clock in the morning.”
Haruki Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle)

The Young and the Doomed

1 Jul

 

“After some exploration, they tracked down a rerun of The Young and the Doomed (1890) to a tiny theater that specialized in Painted Westerns (as those deserts of nonart used to be called). Thus had Mlle Lariviere’s Enfants Maudits (1887) finally degenerated! She had has two adolescents , in a French castle, poison their widowed mother who had seduced a young neighbor, the lover of one of her twins. The author had made many concessions to the freedom of the times, and the foul fancy of scriptwriters; both she and the leading lady disavowed the final result of multiple tamperings with the plot that had now become the story of a murder in Arizona, the victim being a widower about to marry an alcoholic prostitute, whom Marina, quite sensibly, refused to impersonate…the whole matter secretly nauseated Van…for him the written word existed only in its abstract purity, in its unrepeatable appeal to an equally ideal mind. It belonged solely to its creator and could not be spoken or enacted by a mime (as Ada insisted) without letting the deadly stab of another’s mind destroy the artist in the very lair of his art.” Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, Vladimir Nabokov.

 

Dona Maria Barcelo, courtesy of pokerplayernewspaper.com

1Q84

25 Jun

From the excellent all-things-Murakami website, http://www.exorcising-ghosts.co.uk

 

Haruki Murakami’s magnum opus, 1Q84,  sits in my lap as I write this. I’ve been approaching it cautiously, like a wildlife photographer approaching a sleeping Bengal tiger. Almost 1,000 pages of pure awesome…I don’t want to start reading it for fear that I will devour it all in the course of a weekend and then it will all be over. What if he never writes another book again? I feel like I should put it in a beautiful box behind glass with a tiny hammer attached and a note that reads, “Only read in case of Dire Emergency.” I already have one emergency book that I’ve been holding on to for 15 years: The Brothers Karamazov. I’ve read everything else Dostoyevsky’s written, but I can’t bring myself to read that book because I know it’s the end.

I’ve been thumbing through 1Q84, randomly opening it and looking for perfect sentences or hidden messages. Pretty soon I am going to have to take the plunge.

“Things can be seen better in the darkness,” he said, as if he had just seen into her mind. “But the longer you spend in the dark, the harder it becomes to return to the world above ground where the light is”

“The writer improves only when he writes constantly. Like a caterpillar which eats up the leaves.”

Spam Haikus

5 Jun

Blogging is so freakin’ weird. Where do all of these spam comments come from? And why? Why the strange chains of words? I could stare at them for hours, puzzled. Are computers talking to me, or is the hand of a human behind this somehow? I think I’ve had way too much coffee today. I think I might be on cup number 7. Damn you, Sunflower Market Hazelnut Creme/Vanilla Latte! You are way too cheap and too easy to drink. For your reading pleasure (or maybe displeasure), haikus comprised entirely of random, nonsensical words from my spam comments.

Spam Haiku 1: Ode to Microbiology

Spiteful threatened Staph

Methlicillin resistant

Enumerated

Spam Haiku 2: Class Action Drive-By Shooting

Defies pellet gun

Scopalamine dangers grow

Brain damage law firm

Spam Haiku 3: You’re Fired

Life’s ugly truth tests

Donald Trump’s delusion song

Republican scheme

Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride

27 May

Last night after a very uninspired dinner of a glass of almond milk and an Ezekiel bread, peanut butter, wheat germ and agave nectar sandwich, I had a parade of very shiny dreams with sharp little teeth. They started off with me living in Korea and eating bibimbap at a large outdoor strip mall. I couldn’t understand anything anyone said to me, but when I spoke it was in perfect, unaccented Korean. There were children everywhere, and they kept coming up to me and pulling on my skirt. I was dressed entirely in pink and everyone had pink balloons.  The dream then cut to me being involved in a plane crash with the actor Joe Pantoliano, the guy who played Cyper in The Matrix:

Joe was trying to sell me on the merits of cannibalizing our fellow passengers as soon as we crawled out of the wreckage, and I was simultaneously baffled and pissed off. I also had a small child with me (a Korean baby, surprise) and all I could think about was that I needed to get the hell away from Joe Pantoliano before he tried to eat my baby. It was kind of like Cormac MacCarthy’s The Road meets that episode of South Park where the people of South Park get locked in a room for 15 minutes and immediately start eating each other.

“He mistrusted all of that. He said the right dreams for a man in peril were dreams of peril and all else was the call of languor and of death. He slept little and he slept poorly. He dreamt of walking in a flowering wood where birds flew before them he and the child and the sky was aching blue but he was learning how to wake himself from just such siren worlds. Lying there in the dark with the uncanny taste of a peach from some phantom orchard fading in his mouth. He thought if he lived long enough the world at last would all be lost. Like the dying world the newly blind inhabit, all of it slowing fading from memory.”


I think someone put acid in my Ezekiel bread. There’s a good reason why only hippies eat that shit.

Fear and Loathing on my Yoga Mat, er, in Las Vegas

24 May

 

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.”
Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream

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