Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Struggle Commences

So this winter I tried a crazy experiment -- I didn't give myself shit about my winter depression. The people closest to me have been patient and supportive, and overall, the experiment was a great success. I accomplished more and suffered less than any winter in close memory. This is supported by the evidence of the blog. (One of the great benefits of the blog has been its function as a history of my mental state -- being able to go back and compare one year to another has been enlightening.)

I'm sick of it. I have a million things to do, and a million debts to discharge, and sitting here, stunned and helpless, has grown tiresome. It chafes.

I have to work on Swill. This one hangs heavy -- I've got that, "Do I remember how to do any of this shit?" panic bubbling around. It's the kind of thing where I'm all, "I can't make a move until I get the cover finished, so I need to get some photographs of decent ground cover which means I have to get the table inside so I have to get all those musical instruments and bottles (moderate social drinking, kids -- the beer was brought here by Warren and the hon. Richard Talleywhacker) and piles of books off the floor which means I have to go through the shelves and pull out some books to get rid of so I can shelve all the fucking books at the same time. Wait a minute, I can't be pulling books off the shelf! I need to work on Swill! I can't make a fucking move until I get the cover done, though, and it's looking awfully bald. I need some good ground cover, maybe photograph a pot of midget sunflowers from half-a-dozen different angles and make them look like a fucking jungle. Yeah, that's it, and maybe scan some dead pitcher-plants. Shit. I have to get that table in here..."

Always remember.

When in trouble, when in doubt,
Run in circles, scream and shout.

I did manage to get something off to Salon, but I kind of hate myself for it. I think I might have been able to place it in a market a friend recently opened up. Maybe next time... but I have a shit-ton of material I've been sitting on.

The novel being foremost, I suppose. For the record? It needs one last round of line-edits, no rewriting, and I was halfway through the edits when the depression slammed shut. I've heard back from five readers, and the responses were, briefly --

"You've finally done what Elmore Leonard said -- you got rid of all the boring parts."

"This ends like a movie. I mean that in a good way!"

"This isn't stream-of-consciousness, this is a word explosion."

"This reads like Kerouac. Now, when I teach Kerouac..."

And, spoken in a tone of deliberate sincerity, "You do understand what you've got here, don't you?"

I've got some idea of what it is, all right. Fifty-three thousand words is short for a novel but it's fucking long for a poem. I'm just afraid nobody but writers and editors will like it.

I have to give some serious consideration to a friend's prose, and unfortunately my inclination is to guide him in the direction of the guy who wrote those great stories about Roy Orbison in plastic wrap and a bitchy, judgmental turtle.

Another friend is dropping off a novel for me to edit. That might help me get kickstarted -- give me a stack of paper, and some dim node in my pre-electronic brain is stimulated. All this digital internet crap just feels like fog, I need to get my hands on something, damnit.

I have to mail out a book on opium cultivation to one friend, and a copy of Future Lovecraft to a stranger who lives in the neighborhood.

And so on, and so forth. But now I need to go make lunch and clean the kitchen.

And then get some pictures of some kind of ground cover for Swill. Which means I'll have to get that table inside the studio... Shit. I'll have to figure out what to do with all those fucking musical instruments.

And those books. Why am I fucking with the bookshelf when I need to make lunch?

I need my tripod. Where is...

(The missus cries, faint from distance and hunger, "Lunch! Lunch!"

I go.)