Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Memoirs of an Invisible Man 2: The Revenge

No, not the movie. Not the book (what, no Kindle?), either. Both of those were damn great, BTW.

I've been pretty invisible lately. I got frustrated with it, didn't see the point. I'd keep writing these long screeds that you couldn't even finish in the time it takes to have a bowel movement (my theory on the available attention span of people who read things on the Internet), feel stupid about it, try to write a short, snappy one and end up going crazy again.

I went to Facebook, figuring that would help hone my 'net-writing chops, which I thought in turn would make me a better writer. Instead the damn thing just annoyed me as it hid more and more content from me and I missed life events of people I cared about. If you're not constantly slamming FB with 15 posts a day, no one will see you there. I understand they need to make money but damn.

I tried podcasting. It was fun but took some time and I wasn't sure if anyone would really listen to one guy's ranting podcast, that seems mostly for comedians these days. Maybe if I had a different platform. Also every time I thought of doing it I was half in the bag and it would've been like those outtakes of Orson Welles in the Paul Masson commercials. For those who listened, thank you. I may try this or something similar again when ...

I also kind of went on one of those hero journeys. Not in real life, of course. No one has those in real life, really, that's why we write and read books. So I took a JOURNEY OF THE MIND (add some theremin in there). Forced myself to read a lot more books whenever I could. Studied them, too. Read books on writing, mostly by people I respect. I say that because generally if someone is writing about writing it's because ... yeah. But some guys have taken the time. Lawrence Block's WRITING THE NOVEL is awesome and I love that he hasn't changed a word since he wrote it in the 70s. What's there to update? Go to H-T-T-P-COLON-BACKSLASH-BACKSLASH-W-W-W-DOT-BE-A-WRITER-DOT-COM? The process of writing a novel hasn't changed all that much since TOM FIELDING. Shit, the publishing part barely has if you don't consider Amazon, which many people don't.

I fucked around with a lot of ideas. Took them out, played with them, bolted some wheels on and saw if they'd roll straight. They mostly didn't.

Tried to find a writer's group. I have very few friends, and that's mostly my fault. And I have no one to talk about writing with, the actual process, etc, the talking shop shit. The only people I talk to in the biz on a regular basis are both illustrators. Which is interesting and flattering as sometimes they'll ask me questions about writing and I get to discurse extensively and inflate my ego.

Which you have to have if you want to do something like writing, or creating art, I think. If you don't think you are a gift that needs to be shared with the world, what the fuck are you doing?

Do the paragraphs help?

Anyway writer's groups suck. I hate them. I never fit in. I'm a freak and a weirdo amongst freaks and weirdos. It's like if Quasimodo went to a hunchback support group and they were all like, "What? You live in a fucking bell tower? Wow. Just ... that's interesting. Oh, me? I work in human resources." I figured I should go where freaks go, the Internet. It was terrible. I'm not going to name the places because I don't want to deliberately wound these very nice people, but fuck these treacly, squishy places and all their back-and-forth yabba yabba. I don't want to compete with someone who writes about a chef who solves cozy mysteries for attention. The only thing I have to learn from people who write "erotica" is how they have this passion for writing dreck and I have to psych myself up and punch the wall like in OLDBOY a few times to get myself in front of the keyboard with Scrivener (it's great, use it) open. Where is my Inklings (it's a group name, which is one thing, so it's singular, see? GRAMMARED)? Where is my Turkey City Writers Workshop?

What's that? Start one? Friend, I couldn't lead a sailor on shore leave to a bordello with an open bar. I've tried. Something about me, some vibe I give off, I guess. I speak truth, no one listens. I point things out, people don't really look. This is why I write. So people will fucking look and listen.

Am I "back"? I don't know. I might disappear again, for good this time. Come back with a different name. I'd let you all know, of course. I had the thought the other day that this country might not be big enough for West Coast Jim and me if I were to somehow rise out of obscurity. And I don't mean have a showdown at high noon or anything, more like if we were both trying to use the phone booth at the same time. I've had some fun times but right now I think it only works because - let's face it - I'M the "other" Jim Gavin.

-SMASH CUT to somewhere the fuck else -

SO Angry Robot Books has this thing they call "Open Door" where they basically open the coal chute and let you dump shit into a giant pile of slush for them to look at. I sent in SMARTASS OF MARS. I figured what the hell though I felt like Rorschach mailing off his diary. It's KIND of like what they publish except different. Hey, it met all their guidelines (heh, I typed "guildlines", that feels a bit true). They just forgot to ask for books, that, you know, had the good feels. You know? No negative waves, man. Stop it with the negative waves, Gavin. Well, we'll see. If I remember right I'll hear something back by June or so.

Can I be honest? I had the thought the other day that, if they actually ACCEPTED the MSS, I might have a harder time. I kind of want to do this on my own. I'd really have to sit and give it a think. I know, I know, you're shouting at me, "TAKE THE MONEY, FOOL". I probably would. Just saying I wouldn't piss myself and break my fingers answering their email. I'd have to think. Anyway that was a weird kind of hope I had, that because acceptance might cause me more worry than rejection, that it made acceptance more likely, but you can go around and around with that kind of thinking.

Really, my fondest realistic hope when I sent it in was that it would make someone faint. Just give 'em the fucking vapors. "Characters aren't likeable," he would type out haltingly after some aromatherapy and kitten pictures. No shit, son. If you liked them I would hate them and I wouldn't have wrote the goddamn book.

Well, I'm sure they wouldn't give me the satisfaction. We'll see.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: I am going to mine my Facebook page for some of the screeds I've posted there. There is a chance you've seen them before; if so I apologize. The odds are, though, that you haven't. They ain't the goddamn ANALECTS OF CONFUCIUS or anything, but there you go.

I have a new project I'm working on. Yes, I'm writing but I don't mean that, it's not exactly new (it's a sequel and that's all I'll say to avoid jinx). No, the new project is something different. That's another post, though.

Oh, you might be wondering. I said up there "when..." and you might have thought, "when what?" I couldn't finish the thought then but I can now. The answer is, "when I feel better about shouting in the dark". And I don't mean the time and place I record in, I mean just shouting into the dark, no idea if anyone will hear. I think that's why I'm a bit of a dilettante about writing, podcasting, blogging ... some days I can stand the thought and some days I can't. At least, when I talk to myself, I know I'm there and listening. Most of the time.

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