You’re Supposed to Be

Well, here we are once more at the campsite. There is very little happening here in Millsville today, Easter Sunday. I sit in my coffee house and think about the stuff that occurs to me, none of it amounting to much. It’s a lazy day. Not much going on. People walk in together, couples, smiling. I always sit alone. I’ve always been a bit of a loner, a loser you might say, especially as a writer. I used to want to be a writer, but then I realized that I had nothing to say.

That never stopped me, though. I wrote two novels and half of a third. I wrote a million stupid little essay type things, never able to gather the stuff up and turn them into legitimate works. My thoughts are more of the scattered variety. I will have a million thoughts and a million non-thoughts, each of these things won’t matter to me or anybody. Especially you. I get self-conscious when I write in public. I don’t have the ego anymore to attempt to write short stories. Each one is too much of a plea for attention.

My novel wasn’t like that. My latest novel demanded attention in itself. The short stories though seem like a little test I must pass in order for the world to know that I am a “real writer.” I’m sick of that scene, but more than anything, and oddly, I really liked writing my short stories.

I wish I wasn’t so fucked up in my head that I could just write and not worry about the details of it all, but I can’t. I guess I will always be a writer writing from the peripheries inward until I get to some morsel of truth and mine it.

Unfortunately I get to the truth and all of my energy is taken up by that outer morsel. I can rarely move onward and into the core which might allow me to jump track and go into the short story mode or the non-philosophical mode and directly into the metaphorical mode where trees represent other things in some far out way while remaining trees. I like trees. I like thinking about them, their place in the world. How they look good up against a blue sky, how light through their branches look cool, how the leaves sound in the wind. I like that. Unfortunately, I rarely ever get to the place where I think it’s meaningful to write about them. Those simple days seem so far behind me now. Simple even though the reality of it is that to write of these things is not simple but complexity hidden within simplicity.

This type of physical writing is what poets do. But then I stop and realize that nothing poets write is not poetry and that includes thoughts on not being able to write about trees. When I stop worrying about what I write then I am free to express what is inside of me. If there is no form, no title or label like “short story,” “essay,” or the like, I still have the words which have acted as a salve to a too rough exterior membrane, a pair of eyes hurting from too harsh a sun.

I need this meditation. This is what writing is. It is not always or should it ever be just a way to make money. When you come to it from that door there is no place to enter. It’s like opening a door on to a brick wall. Nor is it any good to go the route of writing thoughts that are supposed to sound wise that aren’t wise, which are actually just blowoff, steam. You’ve got to do a lot of this type of writing to get to something meaningful or rather, to get to a trail of thought long enough for the reader to accept it as potent, rather, for it simply to be potent. If it is potent the reader will have no choice. A lot of words must be shed to get to potency.

The skill in writing is often knowing which part of the mass to cut out and which to leave intact and, once you’ve cut out the fat, how to weave it back together again so that the reader thinks that it is all just one long coherent thought, a pure lie, of course, misleading to the highest degree and a secret that writers don’t tell one another except by screaming that you must edit, edit, edit. If writers really understood their process they would explain why you must edit and the reason is simply, like I said: we must write a lot of words to produce a few that limited space in publications will allow.

Sometimes I wish, though, that we weren’t so blocked by
the need to look good on the page. There is something to be said for messiness, truth in mistakes, sloppiness providing better lines to read between which is what good writing provides. If we published more good writers’ sloppier writing maybe we could free people up to attempt the meditation. Instead, we’re all so “great” through meticulous editing that people see the final product and say,”Oh, I wish I could write.” I just want to say: “You can!” If you can edit.

In other words, my message is you must lie to the world that you are a genius in order to become a genius. It’s a sad yet true fact. Just remember that the lie comes after you’ve written the original thought, a thought no greater than any thought belonging to any non-writer. We must accept that we are all in this together, that writing is an exercise that can be extremely therapeutic. We must lift from the ground rules the notion that to “really” write you must be great. This is simply the notion of a bunch of bullshit-headed college dickwads who believed the critics with standards so high above the average that they too were most likely among the “non-selected” and therefore punched down those below them. It’s a pecking order, Shakespeare on down, but a pecking order un-ordered by true writers whether Shakespeare or me or anybody else who believes that the words that you say aren’t quite as important as the fact that you allowed yourself to say them at all.

We are all going to die along with our memories. To allow yourself to write is to allow yourself to live vividly. It is
merely a tool. If the words are “great” this is merely a by-product of having become honest enough with yourself to allow your pen to say things that are truly inside instead of creating a style or philosophy that fits some personality that is not so true to who you are than to who you think you’re supposed to be.

Published in: on November 15, 2014 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

You’re Ninety

You’re Ninety

-above the beginning-
there was

I wondered
for three years
about what I should do.

You have to understand,
I wondered what
what to do meant.

It’s always the idea
that you are something
than what you are
that trips you up.

Usually a word happens
and you go to it
and you stick there
like some object
stuck to
a gluey wall.

You never know
if what you are going to do
-or say-
will matter in the end.

There are so many
out there
of people
who have done well

and you should take it
as a good thing,
that they came through
and succeeded in the end,

but it is all about life
and along the way
you always hear
that they had

They couldn’t do the thing
they wanted to do,
couldn’t move an inch
closer to it,
in no way, ever.

Lost, they were,
just like you are now.
-lost forever-
but ultimately successful,

like some story seeking
an ending
and finding itself.

I was born a seeker,
more a dreamer.

A lost cause
to anybody
who knew me,

but as you age
you learn
the code
and realize

that to be
a lost cause
is a found cause

in the game of
the eras.

The eras are all that matter
to people like me,

because when you have
something to say
to the eras
you feel as though you
came upon something

and that means
that there
can be

that it is possible
at all,
and that life has meaning.

We like to think that this is the case,
that we are not just here
by chance,

another conglomeration of cells
so that “life”
can make it

in a
biological sense,
Darwins “success.”

What is it all for?

Ask an intellectual
and he or she
will tell you
that it is in finding

Ask a married man
or a married woman
with children
what the meaning of life is
and they will say

There is no arguing
with that
as every intellectual knows.

There is never a way
to better
the notions
of the biological

the non-intellectual
the ones who

the ones who know all
because they replicated
their terms,

gave themselves
a second chance
and therefore doubled
their wisdom quotient
just by doing so.

The others, the me, the we,
the others,
we all sit and sink
in the face of the wisdom
we will never know.

Money doesn’t come to us,
unless we’re shrewd
and often,
we delete our shrewdness
in favor of rightness.

We lose our ability
to have children.

Failed works,
minute wanderings of soul.
Finished stuff.

Whatever that means.
Doesn’t matter.

We are not the Gods and
we are not the fathers,
but merely the trustees
of the interstices,

the places where thoughts
were bid from higher powers
To never go.

Kerouac and Wolfe
and Whitman
were all streaming live
their hopes.
How many lost words
did they utter
to unlistening populations?

How many words of theirs
have never been heard,
but for a fleeting moment
in minds of people
who needed just that
useless moment?

Supreme wasters of time.
Monumental seekers of faith,
but failures all.

Never seeking rightly
that which could give them

A jazz play, by Kerouac.
A New York autumn’s glee by Wolfe.
A world praising by the great Whitman,

but all to feel,
to know, to feel, to know,
to feel, to learn to think

that we are more than just
so easily perturbed.

We seek in order to live.
But we are asked to die.

No way could this be
in such a short span
as the almighty God gives us,

but we are asked to do so

It is a turn we take.

When our beauty reigns
so do our words,

but the real writers know
the difference
and they never give in to
the hype.

It is the orchestration
of death
that devours us.

It is the need to rage deeply
one more time
when all of our needs are met.

Too old is nothing but
a lie.

Too old is nothing but
a moment
when others can win
and you can lose.

It is a manner
in which new can overtake
but Thomas said it best,

do not give in,
for it is a matter important
to the usurpers also,

for if you do not give in
nor will they
and into old age such rage
-will ring-

and you will know that you

not just that you mattered,
but all mattered,

that all within biological skin
briefly, at least,

and it did not have to do
with your age
or your decrepitude,

but it had to do with
your soul, an ageless thing,
superior to all attackers
no matter the age.

You are a maverick
who cannot fly.

But you are a God, too,
a man or woman who can live forever.

You know but you do not tell.

The others don’t listen anymore,
because you are not beautiful,
but you know,

and the fire is like lightning
that streaks wide
across reality

and where not acknowledged,
all is lost.

-You’re ninety-

but you matter.

You matter like a son of a bitch.

Published in: on October 15, 2014 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Creative non fiction

joey c kantor

Tear up your library card

The writer Phillip Roth, arguably one of the finest literary novelists of the past fifty years, recently stated that he no longer reads fiction. A study states that dyslexics make up a high proportion of ceo’s. Steinbeck said that knowledge and wisdom enters us the moment that you close the book. Reading is touted as one of the best things that you can do for yourself, the equivalent of intellectual and emotional exercise.

But what if entering the worlds of others could actually have a harmful effect on you? What if exposing yourself to elegantly structured sentences pointing to fine truths could actually cause you to go blind? I wanted to find out if this could be the case when I recently came to the realization that I didn’t want to read fiction any more, or if not anymore at least for awhile. You know what seemed to happen? I sensed the power of contemplation was coming upon me. All of those words I had sipped, slurped and gobbled seemed gone soon after I read them. Afterwards I couldn’t tell you what I had learned because I don’t read to learn. I read to experience. To translate this learning is another story. I began to resent reading. It all just started to seem like vanity, like here was a lucky author, something. Definitely not with more to say than me just because he or she had been vetted by society. I have written millions of words myself, or at least it feels like it and I still have to bow to the experience and talent of others in order to grow? Well I had had enough. I stopped reading fiction and threw my fate to the gods. Either I would deal directly with my own unexpressed self or I would experience nothing at all.

I guess I came to the place where I said goodbye to literature as a crutch. I waved goodbye to being the perpetual student, especially when all the twenty something’s were winning all the writing prizes through sheer intellectual energy. I believe I may have been sold a bill gf goods by the educators in this world. More and more I think that all of this importance of reading over doing was a conspiracy by academic elders making 200 grand per year and publishers doing the same. Everybody says they love reading and literature then they have to love it to eat once they choose it as a vocation or art form, but do they forget why? And if you are constantly shoveling more and more of this into your head, where is your own mind? Do you have room? Must you perpetually shovel so that you be like an addicted teenager to his or her telephone? All in the name of smarts? Healthy smarts? Beneficial smarts, ones that will allow you to do your work at the top of your game. But where has the contemplation gone? Where have you gone? And mostly where have all those words gone because, conceivably, by my age I should have read enough words to provide me enough wisdom to last several generations. At some point might it be just important to put the book down, to stop being a student and, like those dyslexic CEOs become a doer instead and see into what form the words have molded you?

Perhaps when writers say that you must write to be a writer they mean that you must cease to be a reader and become a doer, an experiencer of the fruits of every word you have ever read. Wisdom piles up. Perhaps they are unconsciously telling us to put away dependence on what we think we know or ought to know so that we can enter the process completely free of immediate outside influence. Perhaps a high volume human word vacuum would discover that their own expression style resembles a feather slowly lifting away through a breeze. It is important to come to a sense of who you are through what you express because you discover your limitations, the end of your belief of who you are in exchange for the real and humble knowledge of who you actually are. I’m not Einstein, but then again, Einstein ain’t me. Should you desire to be Updike or Toni Morrison there is a way but it involves cloning. Even if you read every book your favorite author ever read you would still come up against the diagram of your parameters. A beautiful novel like The Old Man and the Sea isn’t Finnegans Wake, but would you want it to be? Everybody is afraid of looking foolish. We imagine our final forms will be revealed and we will see that we were slower than this one or not as beautiful as that one so we try to capture lightning where we can, to bottle thunder in the hope that people will mistake us for that, a human being for an inanimate phenomenon whose only real use is nature’s mystery and ours a vessel for symbolism. We are afraid to look up, to look away from the words of others, like we are afraid of falling behind in a race. Read those words! Have you read this writer yet? You really should because they can infuse their spirit into you and you might just succeed as if you would succeed after the mysterious transfer of the non existent reality that we call luck .

Or you can look away. Hear the frogs croak. Look around you. How did you get where you are, why are you there? Have you stopped long enough to figure it out? Maybe you should get a move on, be somewhere else, but one thing is for sure, you are where you are. No doubt about that and if you are there then there has to be a chance that if you put your mind and animal instinct to it you might just be able to move on to somewhere else. You look around and you can see, you put away the fantasy journal of others that by your reading it will somehow initiate you into a club of other able-minded mentalists. You will be alongside the big daddies, but don’t fall behind. Don’t fall behind or maybe you should.

I always liked the vignette in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath where the retarded man liked the river so stayed there. This a symbolic statement to me. One of those wisdoms through imagery that we can only get when we put the book away and allow it to come back to us. I see it as Steinbeck’s simple nature, the simple man inside of the elegant thinker. If you go toward the unsophisticated, the boring, the droning nothingness of nowhere inside of you, then you may eventually find a perch where thoughts of change can move you, make you eventually do. It is a lot like just slowing down. The writer needs to slow down, close the book of others to open the book of himself or herself, share, and by so doing, becoming a writer too.

Published in: on July 25, 2014 at 4:55 am  Leave a Comment  

The Fargo Kantrowitz’z Literary Campsite #73 – Albert

I was just walking down the street the other day when my school book learning got in my way. Actually, another day to a writer is always that day of years ago. A day equaling an entire period of angst and hell in the writer’s life, everything metabolized down into some symbolic form until you just can’t quite stand it anymore and you write about the relationship between a chicken and a squirrel and try to pass it off as art.
Now, it is art. This is the funny thing. It is art. But in order to be welcomed into the fold of humanity as the textbooks say that we need and want, we must do everything in our power to impress upon the hill people that it is art. This is an art in itself and is a higher art for it is what forms “artists” as we understand them: Bernard Shaw, Sarah McLaughlin, Rodney Dangerfield, Whoopi. What binds all of these people together is that they wanted to be famous. Being famous is the most important thing in the trek of the artist onward to sublimity. If we don’t become famous then we are nothing? Why is this? Because if we don’t become famous then we’re going to be scraping shit off things for others as their slaves. None of us want to be slaves. We don’t even believe in slavery and yet we are. Isn’t that funny how that happens?
So the main question becomes how we are to not be slaves in this world of slaves where everybody is a slave to somebody else unless you decide to completely back out and become a hermit. Now, hermiting has gotten a bad rap as of late with Ted Kazinski and all. In a family of “hard workers” it is even harder to break away from this desire to be alone or, god forbid, simply intellectual as opposed to industrial. People are brought up in this world to tackle the problem of somebody else. In the Bible they say that every part is equal in stature. You need the feet as much as you need the head. Well, the symbolic structure of “the feet” in our society consists of scrubbing toilets and making the beds of drunken, rich, drug-besotted 19-year-olds who have driven into town in their daddy’s BMW convertibles. Whichever way you slice it there can be no doubt that in this case being the head is undoubtedly better than being the feet, especially when you get a little of their cum on your finger as you change their sheets.
But strangers cannot affect you nearly as much as your own family can. God forbid that you have a father who makes his living scraping shit off of sewer walls because you will have learned that scraping shit off of sewer walls is the pinnacle of human existence, that there is no greater goal to strive for than to scrape shit off of sewer walls. This is just an example. Every human being believes that every other human beings should be doing what they are doing if only for the reason that if they don’t believe this then they will recognize that they have been wasting their lives, which we all, for the most part do every day.
And time passes. This is true. As you get older and your world does not materialize as you expected it would according to your dreams you see that all is in a state of slow deterioration. I imagine even the “successful” see this deterioration, if they don’t express it then maybe they feel it on the inside. They feel their weaknesses. I sometimes think that the only people who are happy are those who have forsaken the idea that you can improve your lot on earth by overcoming the material obstacles, by becoming the head instead of the feet. While it is better to be the head than the feet, it does not slow the process of deterioration. This is a truth. But also, this is not a truth. Every word is false if another word follows. A truth suggests that you can stop right there and bask in reality. Well, there is reality and then there is surreal reality and then there is blackest reality and then there is hopeful reality and then there is…
You get the picture. By the time you have the answer you’ve forgotten the question. We are all the mule trying to reach the carrot tied to our tails by the fool who laughs and laughs and laughs, who cannot stop laughing, who will never stop laughing, who has come upon a truth and, smarter than the non-fool, stops.
If you have love in your life then all of these ideas are ludicrous. They are all ludicrous anyway if you think of them in terms of how they will be understood. Isn’t to be understood to be loved if you are a good person? I rarely see instances of love between strangers. Loneliness isn’t the down side of being alone, it stems from seeing the world in love. Love is a singular connection. Once you stop being lovable then you are halfway released from any tether you may have had on earth. From here you enter the loveless realm of the workings of the mind. You can go to the moon or sit on a star from here, but you won’t be able to feel it. You will only be able to see it. When you look you glimpse the light from real human beings who have found the connection. Your book falls the nine miles it takes to get to hell. You wait, but you wait for nothing. For death. Same thing.
There is always the self help route. This too is faulty because we don’t want help. We want love. We can’t just change the pictures in our heads and somehow be alright. Even understanding is a failure because no matter how much we understand we are going to have to fight those closest to us to realize it in our lives and our society will always be about thirty years behind those of us who have taken the initiative and plotted out the possibilities of our human potential. We are still alone. Individuals are pushed backward, flushed out of the system. We walk the outer rim of earth, lonely puppets without puppeteers, alive due to some bizarre system we developed as children and perfected as adults much to our detriment. When we are not being blasted in the ear as to what we should do and how we should do it by our loved ones we are following paths of thought that take us only further away until, finally, we are at the outer rim, walking lonely and aimlessly within the realm of our highest aspiration which in it’s final form is spiritual when we thought it would include the physical, the mental, the emotional, the familial. Skin hanging upon bones. Man does not live on word alone.
They say that the hopeful people do better as human beings than the non-hopeful people. The numbers are pretty convincing although I don’t have them here. I’m not sure what they mean by “hopeful” but I imagine it consists of not having had many bad influences in your life. I think hopefulness comes from having had predominantly positive influences in your life. I personally get tired of trying to figure it all out. I guess this makes me less hopeful and therefore a failure according to the study which therefore makes the study useless to the hopeless and beneficial only to the hopeful since the hopeempty are easily beaten down and often gullible and believing, always attributing to themselves the worst and thereby becoming hopeempty.
At least us hope empty people have got some role models: Sartre, Camus, Beckett. The Hopeful look at these people and don’t understand them. The universities make sure that we worship. Then they come out with these studies which place the divides between the classes; between the educated and the ignorant. I believe that the ignorant are more hopeful. I am not hopeful because I know the futility in trying to make it in this world using my chosen method: the mind. There is nothing I can say to convince anybody of anything. When I do try I simply question my motives and find that I want others to read me and be changed and then if I go further I discover that if they are reading me then I am probably getting paid. I want my physical comforts so I can continue to dispense this “truth” which will set them free and keep me fed and housed. Truth is better left spontaneous. In actuality it cannot be given at all, but only expressed. Words are a cheap whore that I visit again and again, always believing that the next time I will get out of her what I dream.

Published in: on May 11, 2014 at 6:34 am  Leave a Comment  

This Fallow Morn

How so much this thing that we do. All. Sort of do, but not do, and all that there is left, after not doing. That which…

What next. When there seems to be nothing there still is is. Can we write of what IS when what is Not is not mentioned? Where is the real when…

Put words to what is, that is the the. No other words need apply. So simple this is. This know, this what is, but what isn’t known.

I praise these its, these knowns, for what they are. No words need more be mentioned, but those words that are, in real, more so than is, in that what is known is not real.

Yon precipice. I fall? Perhaps, all the way down to something. Born of something, this more. This fallow morn.

Published in: on January 18, 2013 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  

A Story too ___ to ___.

The two children played on the sidewalk in front of Mr. William’s two story brownstone, but they didn’t know that. They had never had trouble before. Mr. Williams was home watching t.v. at the time when he looked outside and saw one of the boys, Tyler was his name, but he didn’t know, draping superheroes one by one on to the spikes of his black wrought iron fence. He watched when suddenly the other one, Mickey, jumped up and began the process of hitting each one of the superheroes off of the fence one by one: Captain America, gone, into Mr. Williams’s ten square foot front yard. The Incredible Hulk, bam, right behind Mr. Willliams’s two feet in circumference planter which held exactly one dead cactus. A scream of protest went up by the younger child, but Mickey didn’t care. Whack. Mr. T flew as far as the second step of Mr. Williams’s staircase. Tyler started to cry.
Jesus Christ! growled Mr. Williams and he got up and slammed open the front door. Both children looked up at him in abject fear, but did not run away.
C’mon, you guys, you’re too close to my house. The last thing I need right now is some crying brat screaming outside my window. I’m trying to sleep!
He hadn’t been trying to sleep, but was actually pouring over the Wall Street Journal to find out how a few of his companies were doing. Things were looking pretty bad and now this.
He did it, cried out Tyler, the tears streaming down his face.
I did not!
Yes, you did! And he turned and hit Mickey. Mickey took the punch because he was more concerned with Mr. Williams. He was the older and he was the one who would be getting in trouble, not Tyler.
Just go, said Mr. Williams, just get out of here and don’t play around here. Where do you live?
Mickey turned and pointed.
Up on Wallerby.
Well, then go play on Wallerby. What are you doing playing around here anyway. Who cares. Just get.
But I need my toys! Pleaded Tyler before breaking into a full out cry.
Oh, Christ, where are they. What toys?
Over there. The Incre-di-ble Hulk is behind that thing. Captain America is right there, he said, pointing. Mr. Williams looked down and saw Mr. T on his step.
Christ! he yelled and the kids almost ran, but didn’t. Mr. Williams moved forward fast and bent down quickly and in anger to pick up Mr. T so he could throw it back over the fence when he felt a sharp pain shoot from the small of his lower back and then sort of zigzag around the rest of his back before the momentum made him fall forward and he fell headlong down the staircase of exactly eight steps.
The boys just stared at Mr. Williams lying there at the bottom of the stairway. He did not move and they both briefly thought that he was dead until they heard him groan, a long, sad moan that proved he was only hurt. Suddenly Mickey darted. Tyler forgot about his toys and sprinted after him. After a moment they were around the corner of Wallerby. Mr. Williams would never see them again.

Williams? What is Williams anyway? British.
Of course.
So you’re probably not catholic unless you’re Irish/British, right?
No, I’m catholic and British/British, British-American.
Like me.
Like you, Calvin Williams smiled. He liked the feeling of this girl.
A lot of people asked about Catholicism at Notre Dame, especially at the beginning after first arriving as freshmen. Both Calvin and Sarah were new, both standing in line together. Neither knew another living soul at this, their first meal at the dining commons just outside of the dormitory that they soon discovered that they shared. Sarah led them to a table without turning to look to see if Calvin had followed. Calvin followed knowing somehow that it would be alright.

This girl seemed to play her silences in a way that he had never really known before. The girls in high school had been a lot of fast lip jabbing together and eyelash flashing at strategic moments. This one seemed to float on a cloud. Her silence did not lend itself to interpretation and because of this Calvin knew he could follow and sit with her. As she sat down she checked only once out of the corner of her eye whether he was behind her. She smiled and acknowledged him. Perhaps he was being too brazen, but she didn’t give that signal. They were, from the first, just right.
What’s your major, she asked.
Her eyes fluttered up then back down as she sipped through her straw.
A doctor.
That’s what my parents think anyway. That’s what I’ve told them. And here I am.
She took a little time before she spoke again. It was odd for Calvin. Time passed and they simply just ate. It was suddenly as though she had forgotten that he was going to be a doctor, something he had hoped would service him well in his pursuit of girls ala the standard dream of the young college man. It wasn’t until she was finished with her salad that she spoke again.

After they accepted one another’s companionship at that first meeting a little void inside each of them was partially filled, the lonely part of the overall void of coming to a new place, the scared part of themselves they tried to cover in their new clothes and sure knowledge of what they thought they wanted to do in the future.

Published in: on November 1, 2012 at 5:29 am  Leave a Comment  


In Line Once Again Of Course

Published in: on May 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm  Leave a Comment  


I used to be a writer. Now I’m a “content provider.”

Published in: on May 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

the first the fargo kantrowitz’z literary campsite’z advertisement

Hello, welcome to the fargo kantrowitz’z literary campsite. Get a space at the institute for very large art, coming soon to the new katherine gianaclis park for the arts. Four renters who want to do big art.

Or go hang out in large art row, where you can paint art outside against a very long and rather tall wall. Art is always best in camaraderie. Cool summer nights are on their way. Hot Artist Plunge.

Getting ready for burning man? Give Joey a call. Have we got a deal for you! Call now! Expert advice awaits!

Published in: on April 7, 2012 at 2:18 am  Leave a Comment  

The Second Literary Campsite

Welcome to the second literary campsite. I promise that it won’t be any better than the first, but I never promised anything about the first either. I get tired of competition and I’m not about to introduce it to myself as these damned missives to the world continue. You can go screw yourselves if that’s what you want.
Some time ago I got sick of being slick. I tried so hard to be slick for the sake of selling my words that I started hating myself. Now I just want to write and if it comes out as appearing slick (of quality) then that’s a good by product, but I won’t chase it anymore. It’s putting the cart before the horse when you do. That carrot ain’t so tasty anyway.
A lot of people know I’m a writer and they ask me how I can do what I do. Well, I would like to address that question here on the campsite today. First of all, for all of you who don’t consider me a writer, I welcome you to the campsite. Please stop reading now. For those of you who consider me a writer because I am writing now and you are a writer because you write I also offer you a hearty welcome, but writers are few. So for that one percent of you who are still reading because you are a manic word gobbler I will say this: I don’t know.
John Steinbeck, one of my favorite authors, said he had learned a lot of technical tricks on how to be a writer, but once he sat down at that blank page was as lost as anybody else as to how to do it. The process begs questions, unanswerable questions, to produce answers. What part of our minds actually does the writing? That’s a biggie because it asks you to look at your very process of thinking. That’s one that makes us lose fifteen years to the study of ourselves. If you pick up an addictive habit add five to ten years. To get out of it I went and got a graduate degree in a subject called “Mythological Studies with an Emphasis in Depth Psychology.” That added five years to my dumbfoundedness in addressing this question.

Now, having failed miserably in answering the basic question of how do we write, $30,000 poorer for asking, too, I come up with the same thing that your high school teacher came up with who didn’t get lost in the world of reality questioning, got a good stable degree, made 30,000 the same year I lost it: Writing itself is the answer. Put the seat of the pants on the chair. The answer comes in the process, the feelings you discover during the process, the uncovering of the mysteries.
The question cannot be addressed empirically unless you want to enter James Hillman Hell. This is a place where seeking types try to become scholars and yet the scholarship consists of believing that unreality has in its kernel, its core, the notion that it is just as real as the real. God is as real as Bread. The inner is as real as the outer. This is exactly what I believed as a child of an artist and spiritualist type mother. But you can’t just take it in. You have to forget you know it in order to know it. It’s all confusing and barely worth your time that Buddhist monks must say over and over for twenty years before they kick aside a pebble and for some reason gain enlightenment. In our society this is not practical. Trust me I’ve lost many very marketable years chasing after the answer.
In sum all I have to say about this particular question is “don’t ask.” Get a business degree, soup up your Chevy, get laid and please, find a pot to piss in.

Published in: on February 4, 2012 at 5:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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