TRADE SHOWS. August 15 – August 31. 21,000 words. Remembering my first trade show sends chills down my spine. An anthropologist convention, applying for a fellowship to graduate school. I knew then I would not make it in academia, but I thought letters was different. I jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire. It takes taut stings to make music. Knut Hamsun said that in A Wanderer Plays on Muted Strings. I have this dark, Norwegian streak. I’m like the Norwegian Blue Parrot. Not dead. Pining for the fjords. I write a pamphlet, Root, Hog, or Die. I don’t know whether to sell it or give it away at the Dread Clampitt gig at the American Legion in Tallahassee, at the Gulf Coast Writers Conference, or at the Bay Arts Alliance independent film series premier of Back From the Dread. Dread Clampitt 2005-2007 AD. I write another pamphlet for the writers conference, Jack the Raver, Happy at Last. What do you have to do? Storm Parnassus. Hit the brick stone wall of the world’s indifference with your head. Maybe if you get your bell rung it will wake you up. Wake up! You can’t do anything about it. It’s out of your hands. You control the writing, not what happens to it. Also, if you can’t go long, go short. Drop-kick it. The theme of this year’s writers conference is Getting Published, so I write one more pamphlet, Writing as Growth: Getting Published. I see that TRADE SHOWS is not the last book of Generation of Strainers: A Life on Paper, or the first book of Forty-Year Run: A Celebration, but a stand-alone book, by itself, just in between. I wrote the great American novel and all I got was a T-shirt. All it was was this book. A misfire, a rimshot, a dud. Not an A-bomb, a squib. A collection of squibs.
DIRT DAUBER. September 1 – September 14. 21,000 words. Brenda and I get back from a trip to Tallahassee to hear Dread Clampitt at the American Legion hall at Lake Ella. Grant Peeples comps us a motel room. We rent a Hyundai Accent. It’s like we’re on vacation. I write a pamphlet for the Gulf Coast Writers Conference. Writing as Growth: Getting Published. My ten books, published by myself or with small presses. It’s not no beet poet tour, it’s a jakeleg tour. I’m not a beat poet I’m a beet poet. Make borscht out of the rooster. Owen and Balder were Children of the Dirt. I’m a parent of the dirt. A dirt archeologist. The salvage archeologist of the Mall Builder culture. I see that TRADE SHOWS is the first part of a three-part book, Summer Reading. I give Summer Reading a subtitle: Le Chef-d’Oeuvre Inconnu. The hidden, or unknown masterpiece. If you want to hide anything from New York, put it on the worldwide web. For an epigraph, I use a quote from Hegel, “Minerva’s Owl takes flight in the gathering dusk.” Andrew Keen says the Internet is killing our culture. I say the professionalization of writing as a career and the consolidation of publishing companies as branches of the entertainment industry killed it. And the Internet saved it. But killer apps and the demand for bandwidth are going to kill the web as I have known it. Indeed, I’m not hacking it with my dial-up modem. I’m old hat, small beer, yesterday’s newspaper, blowing down the street. I get invited to appear at a Local booksALIVE! I can put that in DEAD RAISED IN POINT AND SHOOT. It will be the culmination of Summer Reading. I change the subtitle of Summer Reading from Le Chef-d’Oeuvre Inconnu to A Climax Forest of Daily Typewriting. I change the name of Summer Reading: A Climax Forest of Daily Typewriting to Reading and Writing, and drop the subtitle. I read Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and like it. It’s an essay on American exceptionalism and it’s satirical. What else could it be? The hero is a Title IX female college basketball star, and everybody’s prosperous. Except for drunks and low-rent trailer-trash. Motorcycle crazies. People with guns and Jesus. Heavy television-watchers. Junk-food eaters. Oprah Winfrey meets Jerry Springer. They’re not the same. They’re not. In America we’re free to be anything. Anything. I make up three more pamphlets for the writers conference. Freedom, Yuppies Still Suck, and Keeping at It. I’m a tract writer. I write pamphlets. I write another pamphlet. Tract Writer. That makes ten pamphlets. For Local booksALIVE! The book ends precipitously. I start writing DEAD RAISED IN POINT AND SHOOT. I add the subtitle Six Weeks of Daily Typwriting to Reading and Writing. Then I change Reading and Writing to Reading, Writing, and Remembering (or Imagining).
DEAD RAISED IN POINT AND SHOOT. September 15 – September 27. 20,000 words.
When I went to
THE BEACH BUM BUSINESS: BAN THIS BOOK. September 28 – October 3. 18,000 words. September 25 – October 2 is Banned Books Week. This book covers the premier of Back From the Dread, October 1. I will exhibit the pamphlets I wrote for the writers conference at Local booksALIVE! The Poorhouse Fair. Poor Boy at the Party. As Crazy as a Shithouse Rat. You can’t say that on TV. The Internet is unreliable. Plus, killer apps should get more bandwidth. Faster access. Four-color ads. What kind of a moldy fig still uses a dial-up modem? Purple, twitching, hideous. Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra. Can’t let erectile dysfunction bother me. All American advertising is designed to ask the question, “Madame, are you a good lay?” Philip Wylie. Or, “You can’t write the truth in Time-ese.” A. J. Liebling. In I Only Read It for the Ads I called a glove The Manipulator. It had two controls. Clench/Release and Slower/Faster. “It’s the machinery that’s dangerous.” William S. Burroughs. What if it ran out of control and ripped your poking element off. I change the name of Reading, Writing, and Remembering (or Imagining): A DT Novel to Reading, Writing, and Remembering (or Imagining): A DT Novel or a Black Memoir. Oh, shit. I see that THE BEACH BUM BUSINESS: BAN THIS BOOK and the next book, BUSTED FLUSH, go on the end of Reading, Writing, and Remembering (or Imagining): A DT Novel or a Black Memoir, making it a quintet, instead of a trio. It, or they, will end October 31. Halloween. The Queers’ National Holiday. I read Larry Brown’s “92 Days.” I like it better than the movie Big Bad Love. I read a biography of Emily Dickinson. Lives Like Loaded Guns. How did she get her family to let her sit in her room and write poems? What did she have to do to earn her keep? What did it do to her temperament?
October 4 - October 10. 12,000
words. The Busted Flush was the
basketball team at FSU with Dave Cowens and four black guys on it. A busted flush is a losing poker hand. Life is a tradeoff and a crapshoot. Laurel Speer.
I make a pamphlet to send out with query letters, 10 Short Reviews of
HARDHEAD. October 11 – October 14. 12,000 words.
I think we’ll make it through October.
I have Local booksALIVE! to
get ready for. I see that I will call
the next book IF WE MAKE IT THROUGH NOVEMBER AND DECEMBER. I think HARDHEAD will be a single book, that
stands alone, between