Tuesday, November 16, 2010

There's always one more town a little further down the track.

I'm thinking I'm done with Seattle, soon. Like, maybe in two or three weeks. I've got some offers to room with a couple of friends in California, but I am in no position to make that decision. Suggestions?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

warm up. melt down.

I'm trying to use this stupid blog to do something that NaNoWriMo has called "silencing your inner editor." I find that my own inner editor is a mouthy little fucker, even if I'm just writing random nonsense in a notebook or posting inane status updates to Face Book. I am my own worst critic in every sense of the term, and couple with my crippling self esteem issues, I cannot simply write a single paragraph without revising it a thousand times. Subsequently, I've decided to treat this blog as a "dear diary" type of thing. I might not necessarily have anything of significant import to say, but in the interest of channeling the spirit of Ezra Pound and simply letting it all hang out, I'm going to try to post something on here every day. I'm extremely undisciplined by nature (unless you consider tacos, cigarettes, and coffee a discipline) and my hatred of authority figures extends even to myself. If I tell myself to do something, I probably won't do it. I am allergic to rigidity. But the whole NaNo experience, maddening as it is, has been a good first step in simply paying slavish devotion to writing, even if it doesn't amount to anything. I'm firmly convinced that when this experience is over, I will lock the manuscript away in a lead lined box and not look at it for at least six months. But that's fine. If I can log 50k words in a month, that will be a big accomplishment for me, and I need that. The last three months have been a period of my life where I've seen more losses than gains, and I need something to help pull me out of this morass.

On an unrelated note, I applied for unemployment today, and it looks like I might get a tiny, tiny stipend. It's better than nothing, and at least I'll be able to eat.

The column I'm writing doesn't pay squat, but again, it's a good experience. Some day, perhaps, in the not too distant future, I'll have a big boy life.

play on repeat

I haven't left the house in weeks. When I do, it's to walk to the corner for an occasional coffee, or go up the street to the 7-11 for beer and cigarettes. I'm not eating much. I can't sleep very well, and when I do, my dreams are absurd and I wake up struggling for breath. I'm writing more than I ever have in my life, partly to give myself some semblance of control, and partly because it keeps me from considering the reality of my situation. I've been nursing an awful fucking toothache, my jaws throbs with the suggestion of a pending infection, which I'm almost welcoming at this point, promising as it does the extraction of the offending tooth and if I'm lucky, a prescription for Vicodin, which I've only taken twice but know enough to understand that it makes everything feel like a tropical breeze has taken residence in your head. I'm terrified of what the future holds, terrified beyond belief, actually. Taking up a piece of cardboard and a magic marker seems like a legitimate possibility. I keep hearing the Tom Waits lyric in my head: "Pregnant women and Viet Nam vets, I said beggin' on the freeway 'bout as hard as it gets." My girlfriend has been as supportive as I can expect her to be given the circumstances, but I know the strain is getting to her. It would help if I had any sort of outlet, a friend in the neighborhood, somewhere to go, enough money in my pocket to just go see a movie or have a beer by myself, but I don't. So I'm sinking even deeper into myself, writing like my life depends on it. I think it does. It's hard for me to muster the energy to shower, to take care of myself in the most basic ways. I've gone days without brushing my teeth lately. Even if my girlfriend wanted to kiss me, I'd probably hesitate. I feel disgusting and useless, utterly devoid of talent or ambition. I've been rejected outright or simply never received a response for the most menial of jobs. Taking stock of the situation I know I've got some good stories to tell, but most of them could be filed under the "dire warning" or "basis of comparison" variety. I try to commit them to paper but they all come out sounding incredibly self pitying, like this post. But I can't help it. I'm fucking drowning. All I can do is keep writing. Leonard Cohen said "I hope that you're keeping some kind of record." I am, Leonard. The notion that all this suffering will be in vain is sad beyond words. It makes it impossible for me to speak, actually. How can you articulate all this fruitless agony? What am I supposed to do with this? I'm thirty four and have no savings, no career. I'm frightened beyond belief. My truck is broken, and so are my teeth, and so is the rest of the whole mess, I guess. I don't think there is any bravery in soldering on. I'm just too big of a coward to kill myself.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Hello again.

I had honestly almost forgotten that this blog existed. Truly. I only have about six followers so far, and you all know me, but in the event that some hapless stranger stumbles upon this blog, I'll point out that I've recently moved to Seattle. I've been so busy over the last three months with relocating and all the attendant agonies that I haven't had any time to post, or really even give a shit.
Leaving Minnesota was hard. It was hard on me, and it was hard on my family. But when I got a job in Seattle and the opportunity to start over, I jumped. Some would say without thinking. I admit it was done hastily. I still have unfinished business in Minnesota, and I'll get around to it eventually. But at the time, getting out was all that mattered. Minnesota was killing me. Going from one dead end job to the next, struggling financially, and moving every six months was taking it's toll. As is characteristic of me any time I find myself sinking into the morass of late summer Minnesota related depression, I was becoming increasingly alienated from my friends. I was broke. I was fucking miserable. Suicide was looking like a real option, and not in the high school sense. I legitimately wanted it to be done. I didn't have a lot of fight left in me. Someone once said that if you're desperate enough to kill yourself, you're desperate enough to stow away on a container ship bound for Hong Kong and take your chances, and that's basically what I did.
Then I lost my job in Seattle two weeks after moving here.
The ride out here was intense. As a younger man, I thought nothing of jumping into a friends car with a change of clothes and a couple of hundred bucks, destined for parts unknown. But I was driving solo across the country for the first time in my life, behind the wheel of a leaky ass, busted old Dodge that was almost as old as I was, with my dog and a cargo of books and clothes. It should have been a grand adventure, but it was the loneliest three days of my life. I asked myself the whole way if I was doing the right thing, plunging, as I was, headlong into an uncertain future. The weather was atrocious, my brakes were bad, and I had just enough money to get me there. I had no contingency plan for what would transpire if I broke down somewhere in Montana. By some miracle (or perhaps by the magic of the knit Cthulhu doll that my friend Tammy made me and I used as a dashboard ornament) I made it out here. After unloading my truck I realized that some of my prized books had been destroyed in the rain, but no matter. I soldiered on.
Then, the lay off.
I love Seattle, but one thing the locals have warned me about is the difficulty of meeting people. I'm finding it to be true. I have thirty dollars to my name and no friends to speak of, but I'm hoping against hope that I can either find a job within the next week or qualify for unemployment, which looks dubious at best. In the meanwhile I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month, an experience which is both a blessing and a curse. It gives me something to do while I vainly check my g-mail every five minutes, hoping that someone has taken an interest in one of the thousands of applications I've sent out. On the flip side it's frustrating and I feel like I'm going nowhere with the narrative.
My brain is melting.
I promise a more detailed account of my adventures soon.
It's been a long three months. The longest of my life, perhaps.
Now give me a job.