Every day that I don’t give up writing completely feels amazing
I’m not one of those people who feels the need to write all the time, as you may have guessed, from reading my other shit on this website.
I frequently turn over the possibility of permanently ceasing all writing outside of my job. It’s not unusual. I think other contributors have mentioned this impulse. I’ve considered announcing this in some kind of horrifically boring final post. It’s obviously not a palatable idea, because who gives a shit? Certainly not someone similar myself, the self-audience, who is probably too lazy to every submit a single piece of writing to micro-press, let alone establish a relationship with an agent or editor. It doesn’t fit with the frozen vibe. I don’t fear rejection at all. I fear wasting people’s time. I fear over-sharing. I fear talking to an empty room.
Th end of publishing is kind of like a party thrown by a really unpopular kid.
Yeah, people will come to the party if they want to. A lot of screaming about friendship obligations and getting upset about Facebook RSVPs, seems sad. With my writing, I can take a horse to water and he may not even drink. It might not be the right genre. He may not like the cover. I don’t even have Mike’s Hard Lemonade in the party fridge, and maybe that’s the horse’s preferred adult beverage. The horse is probably a huge fan of the Halo books series. He sips Mike’s at his own unpretentious LAN party, not really thinking about anything. His two best friends come and one of them asks if there is any food.
I’ve never written anything that could remotely be seen as an asset to a press or publishing company.
Publishers want big stories that touch normal internet people. I imagine Reddit to be the greatest resource in publishing research, in movie development. The things I write are about me. Mostly I don’t feel like touching people the way they like to be touched.
One person trying to touch everyone by not giving them much thought and blasting their own flavor seems very 20th Century. There’s a geometry problem in modern publishing that “the long tail” only makes more daunting. How do you touch people in exciting new ways, when everyone is already getting touched THE WAY THEY WANT TO BE TOUCHED. I guess you advertise the popular forms of self. iTouch House.
Stories are meant to be lived in, not read. Which is why publishing will eventually just be a sense-sharing brain TV thing, I guess. I will plug in and feel totally inside the reality TV actor’s skin. She’ll be a master of form and style. She’ll produce the touching literature of real housewives, touching her fans by simply editing out the slow parts.
I feel… barely relevant to myself, let alone to the interests of a mass audience of readers, composed of, I guess, older Christian women living in small cities. I think of these women sitting in small chain bookstores, alienated from everything that isn’t designed to be consumed by them. Why try my new publishing project Erik’s Thai Curry Dungeon when you can go to Old County Buffet? It’s my problem, not theirs.
I’m a slack agent of non-liturare, of the end of mass culture, and of the end of structured criticism. I’m a silence artist of the not-an-artist type. Haha. At least in the sense that I barely have the energy to do anything. This year, I’m just not compelled to disrupt ebook culture forever.
In a very boring way, I’m coming home to investigate these apocalyptic people and images I seem to be able to co-habitate with. It’s not a star vehicle. It’s not a niche audience.
I have trouble deleting and correcting egregious misspellings in sober, politically fraught morning Tweets. I can’t separate editing from dying. This is another problem.
There is a bit of half-legitimate, complex guilt here. Because, what if I could impress critics? Maybe I should try? I know people – my girlfriend is one of them – who have extremely fine tuned tastes in art and literature. She is constantly saying no to all the shit that comes down the cultural pipes at our faces – and saying no in a way that indicates a deep level of understanding of what should and should not survive, culturally. She’s good. I wish I was that good.
My girlfriend actually gets upset when some bad excuse of a downtown gallery girl rich kid is shitting in our faces with her lame excuse of post-academic self-exploration/exploitation. We go to a gallery and she’s like this is aweful can we leave. It’s inspiring. My girlfriend lacks the ability to let shitty people dictate how she lives, which seems sort of bleakly funny when you consider how impractical that actually is. There’s a certain practical flexibility to tolerating bad art. It’s related to nepotism.
I always used to give things a try. I think my parents though of art as a type of yard work.
It gets depressing when I think in terms of darwinism in art. Like, what lives and dies by the moods of the masses and by the gatekeepers of traditional media. There are all these dead masterpieces floating somewhere out there, way outside of the mainstream, way past Twin Peaks, way way past The Replacements, way out at the end of the solar system. I imagine these artifacts in the vacuum of deep space, small markets with just one NBC and one CBS affiliate, never touched by the dark hand of media capitalism.
And even when they touch, it’s usually just a grope or a slap.
I’ve been in these small pieces on Gawker and in the New York Times, but it just doesn’t feel that validating. Yeah.. it feels pointless in the face of a crushingly exploitive media ecosystem that chooses to elevate bitter-parody mommy Twitter feeds for TV deals, above heartwarmingly smart, low-clost video stuff, books, music. Yawn, I know,
I think of like, bands I listened to growing up. None of those people got famous. And all the music is better than what’s on the radio. I sound old. I’m saying old things.
This is the voice telling me to shut up.
I think of all these male industry executives deciding what kind of shows they’re going to sell to women at TV upfronts, where the advertising money intersects with the professional pop art industry. It’s horrific. I think of female TV executives thinking how do we appeal to women? as if that’s some kind of checklist or math problem they’re responsible for. Turf. I’ve heard those words in meetings before, from women, as if they aren’t fully aware that they can just like things that don’t suck, and say the words it appeals to women because I think it’s good and I’m a woman. If white dudes are exempt from explaining anything they do. Learn from that success or don’t. White dudes never had to explain shit. For thousands of years, they made sure they wouldn’t be in the position. It was the art that bares no explanation.
I used to love the way male writers (in the great tradition) just wrote sweeping empty things and wore an aloof smile in the face of culture reveling in their storied anxieties – you really believe they have something interesting to say. You can call that deep, pure, honest artistry. Because you are a sucker, I guess. You seek people with the zero-mood that inspires blind faith. You seek male confidence artists. For summer reading, you seek female self-tourture sex columnists. The unhappiness of woman kind is so invigorating. The brutal ignorance of man cools it.
It’s shitty. I feel responsible for everything. I feel ancestral energies.
Fuck men, fuck power… I guess. Sweetly fuck these blog posts.
If life just ends up being love, mini-passion and toiling away in the cavelike trap house of this microcosmic art community, why not just stop the toil part? Imagine a sisyphus 420 from writing, because I realized I can’t quit. I can only slow down until I’m infinitely close to dead.
So I guess I already quit writing a while ago. I already didn’t get an MFA or an agent and not I’m in the aftermath of my non-career. I realized my writing was bad when I started writing. My genre is unacceptable crimes against careful, thoughtful writing that matters: the great double blind sins of rolling indifference and inexplicable feelings.
When I was like I’ll just do whatever and write whatever. And it’s not even for the brilliant capstone of a suffering reginmine. It’s common. The best analogy is folk art. In comparison, pulp fiction would seem laughable iconic.
I’m just too aware that what I have to say just isn’t that important. The smallness of my life haunts me in a horrifyingly banal way that is as indisputable as it is LOL. It’s a topic of interest. It’s a theme in the work.
I wouldn’t call it humility, because I’m still typing. And it’s not coming out very cool.
Sometimes I’m like, I have all these things in my life that I love. Then I’m like, everyone does. Deploy deep shame about positive self-image. Love, experience – It’s either the agony or the equity. A little voice says, but what if that’s not enough, and I start writing again. And writing isn’t even an answer to a question I tried to form. Not really a survival mechanism, more of like the opposite, which is proof of something unholy and inhuman deep inside our glittering tradition.