Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I hate summer (with expletives)

Fuck your slushies. Please come to my house.

There. I said it. I've written about Seattle's intolerably gorgeous summer before, right here, but I think I was being too positive. Really, summer is just wrong. It's cruel, especially when the writing isn't going well, and really the being-alive thing isn't going well-- because the writing isn't going well, so nothing can-- and I look out at the bright blue sun and the expanse of yellow sky and I think: I have no life. And it's all my fault, because I'm always stuck in this room here, trying to write.

Really, why would anybody choose to write? It's absolutely impossible, a dreadful profession. I should be one of those people who reviews books for a living. God, how fun, to just judge books, instead of writing them! To compose sentences like, Really, this is a middling effort from Philip Roth. Or, It's not Toni Morrison's best work, but it has glimmers of her earlier greatness. Oh, to sit up high, looking down, instead of squatting here, in the muck, wondering if any of this will ever be worth a good goddamn.

If I were reviewing books, I would be out right now with fashionable friends, holding forth on the great and the unworthy, making snide comments about Salman Rushdie's lesser novels and pithy asides about the weaknesses in Mark Twain's prose, waving my glass about confidently, always confidently, so confident.

(If you've enjoyed this foray into fantasyland, I also have magical theories about how good I would feel about myself if I were directing plays; an academic; a priest; one of those people who live in shacks in the mountains, watching out for forest fires . . . I will cycle through those fantasies in the future, when the writing sucks again. Probably tomorrow, if I'm still working on this motherfucker of a short story.)

So, yeah. Instead of being out in the gorgeous green day, I'm alone in my hot room wrestling a couple of strangers to the ground, strangers I created in my own head, neither of which will go have a drink with me or go for a walk with me or listen to me kvetch about my writing because they ARE my writing. They are ASSHOLES who don't want to get WRITTEN. These half-written characters of mine, they're just running the fuck away on their half-written legs, sticking their invisible tongues out at me from behind surprisingly well-drawn trees, and meanwhile the rest of the real world is out, surely enjoying a margarita somewhere. A real margarita, with, like, real alcoholic molecules.

Meanwhile I've skipped yoga and resented myself for it, I've thought about how I'm supposed to get a standing desk and learn how to write while standing. I've thought about how every moment I sit here, thinking about writing and not writing, wondering how soon I can get back on the internet and check the latest inanity on Facebook or Twitter, every moment is one moment closer to death, because sitting kills. That's what they say. Did you know this about sitting? It kills. I am killing myself right now.

So instead of thinking: what would this character do in response to xyz? instead I'm thinking about dying-from-sitting and how that's not what I'm supposed to be thinking about and besides, besides: what the fuck am I doing writing fiction anyway? I read somewhere recently that novels are the new short stories and that short stories are the new poems, and everybody knows that nobody reads poems, which means that nobody reads short stories. And I made the mistake of telling somebody (who doesn't read) what my new memoir is about, and they said, Seriously? Who would want to read that? And now I look at the 200+ pages of that first draft and think, seriously, indeed, who would? I don't even want to read it! I want to be drinking margaritas! On the street! With ALL OF HUMANITY. If we're all going to die in some La-Z-boy seated apocalypse, we might as well have a margarita in our hands, AMIRITE?

Oh, I promise to write again soon with a happier dispatch, one in which I argue that actually, there is no greater life than the writing life, that it's all orgasms and jellybeans, that all this intellectual clenching is making my ass round and succulent. But for now, let it be known that I am giving myself deep vein thrombosis in honor of a short story that might, by tomorrow, look like a big steaming pile of elephant dung.