In 1985, Anthony Burgess said the future held "work and television." In 1978, when Burgess wrote 1985, it did. Now it holds unemployment and television.
WORKINGMAN'S BLUES NO. 2. August 25 - September 21. 28,000 words. I celebrate my 38th year as a writer. And 70th birthday. My temporary technical writing job is running out. I prepare to give two presentations at Gulf Coast Writers Conference, one on publishing as a business, and one on self-publishing as a strategy. It's more a tactic. A means to an end. What's the end? A career as a mainstream commercial novelist? You can't get there from here. It's about possibilities not matching ambitions. The American dream turning into the Bush-Enron administration, its perfect flower. Newspapers are dying. The polar bear and the panda are endangered species. Bigfoot is extinct. Shit happens when you're fatalistic. I get my news from reality TV. From pundits shouting lunatic-fringe slogans at each other. Who's got time to read a good book anymore? I barely have time to write one. You can read my book on the worldwide web. At the library, if you're homeless. At work, if you have a computer with an Internet browser like Netscape. Ha ha, that's a joke. They probably have MS Windows Internet Explorer. The company I work for lost a mil spec tech manual contract. The whole writing group is superannuated, or made redundant. I still have some work left on my economic-stimulus-package trickle-down grant writing training programs for the unemployed. In whose number I will soon find myself, again. Once more. Audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace. Audacity forever! This is my chance. I write a pamphlet called They, or dem. Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one. I own The Daily Bulletin. I write and publish in real time. They, or dem is the best justification for publishing your own pamphlets since John Milton's Areopagitica, in 1644. Thoughts have wings, say the Rosicrucians. Go in a cave and think one true thought.
WORK. September 22 - October 2. 15,000 words. I am reverted to my permanent rank: yardbird. I stay at home and write a book called WORK. Itís a sequel to BLACK HARVEST. 1985 was essays on Orwellís Nineteen Eighty-Four and a novella. Househusband is WORKINGMANíS BLUES NO. 2 and WORK. WORK will probably be a novella. I feel comfortable at that length. WORKINGMANíS BLUES NO. 2 was 28,000 words. It was a memoir, or meditation on writing. Or a correspondence novel. A correspondence novel isnít a novel, itís something you get in the mail, or go to a writerís web site and read online every day. As it is written. If you write the author, he answers you in his book. Oops. I see that Househusband is subtitled Thoreau or Kierkegaard at the Writers Conference. Thatís a seven-word pitch. Thatís the plot, in seven words or less. Of course, Thoreau and Kierkegaard didnít have a wife and family to support them. Grandchildren. Swiss Family Paranoia-Critical. WORK turns out to be a long short story.
NOMOPO. October 3 - October 5. 8,000 words. At the house. I adapt HOUSEHUSBAND for the screen. Instead of six reels, or four, it runs a little short (3½).
LARGE PYLE'S LAST WRITERS CONFERENCE. October 7 - October 12. 6,500 words. I change the subtitle of HOUSEHUSBAND from THOREAU OR KIERKEGAARD AT THE WRITERS CONFERENCE to A CORRESPONDENCE NOVEL. What is a correspondence novel? Everything under the kitchen sink. Just what David Zack says it is. A memoir, a novel, pamphlets of poetry, a screenplay. Literary theory, literary criticism. Self-interviews. Letters to imaginary friends. Written, and published, on the worldwide web, in real time. Itís the means of getting them out to the reader thatís new, not what is in them. I wish Zack could have seen the Internet. He predicted it, you know. He was doing this through the mails. From Tepoztlan, Mexico.
His dog, Bleeto. Short for Diablito, or Little Devil. A Mexican hairless hairy friend. He didnít have no tail, he had a very short tail. I donít have no cult, I have a very small cult.
FISHING STORIES, OR, BEER-CAN ISLAND. October 12 - October 13. 4,000 words. Poems. I make a pamphlet, and send it out. Fishing Stories, or, Beer-Can Island.
HALLOWEEN. October 15 - October 17. 5,000 words. I finish up my temporary job. I see that HELD-IN-ABEYANCE (HIA): TALKING TO MYSELF and HOUSEHUSBAND: A CORRESPONDENCE NOVEL combine to form On Assignment: Four Months of Daily Typewriting, with one more part, to take me to the end of October: IN MY ROOM: IMMOBILIZED IN POINT AND SHOOT.
IN MY ROOM: IMMOBILIZED IN POINT AND SHOOT. October 18 - October 21. 5,000 words. I see what I am going to write next. I finish my writing job. I didn't get fired. I didn't quit. I completed the assignment.
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