What a blessing to reach a point in life where you no longer desire. When you’re young, the absence of desire always seems the most horrifying possibility, the most terrifying specter beckoning you toward the future. But it’s not any of those things. It simply is not. There is no there there. There’s no void; it’s as if nothing was ever desirable to begin with, as if you’ve never wanted to be desirable. It’s the most freeing experience you’ll ever have, to no longer want, to no longer want to be wanted.
There’s nothing to it. You just start writing. Type out or scribble down a few words, a phrase, an image. Set a timer. Write for an hour. See how many words you can get written in that time. Look them over. Throw them away. Forget all of it. Start again. Train your brain to work for an hour. Add fifteen minutes to that hour. Try 90 minutes, two hours. Just keep building on that. Don’t stop writing. Keep going. Tell yourself that every second of the time you’re working: “No one is ever going to read this.” And see how […]
I’ve been on a mini-vacation from work for the past five days, and for me that’s meant staying in and getting other work done—housework, writing, social media, etc. But I got a call at around 7:30 on Friday night from a friend who was at the Waffle House with her girlfriend eating dinner. She asked me to join them, so I told her to order me a waffle with half a cup of coffee and that I’d be there in five. We were just shooting the shit, as you do at the Waffle House, talking about books, and at one […]
Catch everything out of the air into the net of your mind. Place every word in the correct order, arrange the dots and stripes of your perfect sentiment. Write all the beautiful phrases. Polish them, gaze at them in wonder. Congratulate yourself on your amazing powers of creation. Know there is nothing wasted. Marvel at the sureness of your footing. When you’re sure you’ve never written anything more perfect, trash it. Get rid of it. Make it leave. Don’t tell it goodbye, don’t linger in the doorway after you send it all away. Then grab your net and start gathering […]
“Write the book you want to read.” Is that good advice? I’m not sure. When I think about it, I know it makes sense, but as soon as I concede that, I suddenly lose my idea of what I want to read. It just flies out of my head, like all the books I knew I wanted to look for once I step inside a bookstore, or the way album titles used to leave me when I finally made it to Camelot Music in the Middletown Mall throughout the 80s. What are the books I have loved most in the […]
Today I’m going to teach you how to trick old people into listening to Jeff Buckley without grousing. Every day at lunch I read a little thing I throw together called On This Day in History to the assisted living residents in the retirement community where I work. I try to find things that they learned in history themselves, as well as things they will either totally remember, sort of remember happening, or just funny, weird, strange events. (E.g., I’m kind of infamous for telling them about someone’s birthday in history just because that person has an uncommon name. Like, […]
Usually when I use the words “Not a Review” in a post title, the post is about a movie I have actually seen. If this post is a review of anything, it’s a review of Mr. Barlow’s blog post about the movie Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, a movie I have not seen yet but most likely will see now that I’ve read Mr. Barlow’s blog post about it. (I feel I owe this blog post to him since I’m pretty sure he wrote a post about the film simply because I asked him to, He didn’t half-ass it, either, the […]
A terrible thing—maybe the worst thing ever—happened to my creative life last week, but I didn’t start feeling the repercussions of it until Sunday morning. As far as writing routines go I have nothing ironclad that I would share on social media with any amount of smugness. It’s nearly always a crapshoot when I sit down at my desk. For years I stood by my assertion that silence maintained the best vibe for my writing sessions. My reasoning changed over the years: “Listening to music distracts me from achieving creative flow” gradually turned into “Writing distracts me too much from […]
I noticed that I created a tag for my blog posts called “love,” and when I noticed it I wondered why I had done such a thing. All things considered, I mean, vis à vis love and me, it seemed a little…weird, to say the very least. So imagine my relief when I saw that there were only two posts tagged with the word “love.” One was a post about the mutual birthdays of Steve Martin, Gary Larson, and Wim Wenders. The other was about an aquarium fish named Diane that I had a brief flirtation with before she was […]
Can’t decide if I want to make a blog entry or write a Citizen Jim Story* to talk about what all I’m pondering on this dreary Saturday. Such as: the horrible weather (Tropical Storm Barry) my new keyboard the sliver of a new idea for a piece of fiction that keeps rubbing itself on the inside of my brain my plans for a second stab at podcasting maybe even something about how the song “Everything Is Everything Else” by The Galileo 7 (now playing on the Spotify play list I’m listening to right now [Jams Now on Repeat]) kind of […]
NOTE: A lot of people think you can jazz up any recipe by melting cheese into whatever you’re making. This is NOT that kind of recipe.
I’ve noticed that (usually) when people lean toward you and say in a low voice, “Full disclosure…” they never tell you anything interesting, or anything that you didn’t already either know or at least guess about them. I used the parenthetical offset with the word “usually” because every once in a while someone’s full disclosure is really, really full of shocking items that I would never have guessed and don’t even want to know about. I’m here to say: never fear this with me. If I say to you, “Full disclosure,” you won’t give a flying fuck about anything I […]
This is the text of a column I wrote for the April 12, 2007 edition of the Glenville Democrat, a newspaper for which I was a guest columnist at the time. (I had been an actual columnist for the paper between 2002 and 2005.) I’m not sure what the title of the column was. If nothing else, reading this proved to me that not much has changed in this country over the last dozen years. – In his editorial last week, Weston Democrat publisher/editor Bob Billeter had some interesting things to say about the problem of illegal immigrants in the […]
“Sometimes I think it’s possible to live with anything. That we’re wired to survive, survive, survive, to grip on to the gnarliest thread until life is pried from our bones. Other times I think it’s not possible to live at all. Not at all.” – Ellena Savage, from “Yellow City,” published in The Paris Review
The plan was to purge my life of social media at the end of this, the worst year in a long time (if not on a personal level then definitely on a world-wide scale). I was going to let my Facebook friends know, and the people who follow my page. Nobody cares at the other platforms, so I wasn’t worried about a sudden unexplained departure from those. But I went ahead and gave it all the old heave-ho in the last few days – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of it. Even poor little LinkedIn wasn’t given the option of surviving […]