Posts Tagged ‘writer’

Continuing from an earlier post called Bad Day at the Trailer Park

Buddy’s El Camino tore up the road at a furious pace, matching his mood. Not content for having gotten the better over Dean, Harley, and Monster, he turned his dark attention to Wanda Jean.

“Baby,” Buddy said, an edge of violence to his voice. “Tell me again what you done to them old boys back there.”

Wanda Jean rolled her eyes, careful to look away when doing so. “Honey, I done told you half a dozen times already, ain’t nothin’ more to say about it.”

“That’s for me to say, woman. Thing is, I’m leaning toward thinkin’ maybe you done a little more for them than just serve up some nasty rock.”

“Like what, Buddy? You think I screwed ’em? Is that it?” Like it ain’t enough that I went in there, alone, got them to snort death, and made it out with my skin in place while you just sat in the car, waiting?” Wanda Jean’s voice had taken a turn, her words laced delicately with spite. She hadn’t meant to taunt Buddy, but she was enjoying the feeling.

“The hellyou mean by that?” Buddy shouted, his face reddening with anger. “You callin’ me a punk for not tending to my own affairs?”

“Shoe fits, baby,” Wanda Jean said with a laugh, wondering just how far she could push the idiot before he went completely sideways.

Without taking his eyes from the road, Buddy’s right arm shot out, his fist exploding across Wanda Jean’s face. Neither shocked nor startled, Wanda Jean turned toward the window, spat out the remains of a tooth, before turning to look at the man behind the wheel.

“Oh baby, you done that good, didn’t you?” she asked, tauntingly. “You just uncorked one on me, and I reckon you feel justified in doing it, don’t you?”

“That weren’t my fault, missy. You made me do that, made me lose my temper, and I had to teach you a lesson. You learned, didn’t you?”

“That I did, sugar. I learned more than you think,” Wanda Jean cooed softly. “I learned what turns a man into a boy, I learned what sets you off, and I learned that you think it’s okay to put hands on a woman if you think she provokes you.”

“You listen to me now, bitch, and you listen good,” Buddy snarled, white knuckling the steering wheel. “What you just got was a warning, and it was about a six on the Buddy scale. You don’t never wanna see me take it to a ten.”

“Reckon I don’t, baby,” Wanda said quietly. “Now I know you’re a stone cold, natural born badass, and I done learned my place.”

Buddy laughed, the tension easing from his face, from his voice. “Ain’t that better? Now we understand each other.”

“Here’s what I want you to understand, Buddy. Them old boys back in the trailer? You’re right, I did more than give them that bad batch. Before that, I let them have me, all at once. And it was good, baby, so goddamn good. Better than you could ever be, that’s for damn sure.”

“You filthy-”

“ENOUGH,” Wanda Jean shouted, loud enough to hurt Buddy’s ears, loud enough to rattle the windows of the beat up car. Wanda leaned in close to Buddy, a sharp fingernail pressed against the side of his neck, blood pumping furiously through the artery beneath it. “You keep driving, and maybe I’ll let your sorry ass live. Maybe.”

Fear and rage fought for room on Buddy’s face. No woman had ever spoken to him like this, and damn if it was going to start now. “You ever raise your voice against me again, Wanda Jean, and I swear to you, there’s gonna be Hell to pay.” The menace of his words was betrayed by a tremor in his voice, a signal to both that while Buddy’s heart still believed he was in control, his brain knew better and just couldn’t give up the fight.

Wanda Jean put her hand at the back of Buddy’s neck and leaned in close, whispering in his ear. “Loverboy, you got but one last chance to say something decent. Just one.”

“You goddamn–”

Wanda Jean’s hand shoved Buddy’s head forward violently, his skull shattering the windshield. Stunned, Buddy’s hands gripped the steering wheel and threw a hard left. The car’s tires chirped against the asphalt in a desperate attempt to keep contact with the road, the rear of the vehicle swinging out and clipping a telephone pole, sending the car into a sidelong roll, over and over, down into a ditch filled with reeking sewage, where it settled on its roof.

Buddy never wore a seat belt, because he said that no man would ever tell him how to live his life. The crash had tossed Buddy around the cabin of the car like a rag doll while Wanda Jean, safely buckled in, laughed and laughed as his body rolled and rolled, bones breaking and joints snapping, cartilage tearing and flesh torn asunder.

When the El Camino finally came to a rest, Buddy’s breathing was wet and ragged, one lung collapsed and the other perforated by broken ribs as his body lay crumpled against the roof of the car.. Wanda Jean giggled to herself, upside down and suspended by the seat belt, giddy over what she had created. Even as he lay dying, Buddy attempted to talk.

“What…bitch…I kill you…who…are you?”

“Who, me? Lemme put it this way, genius: it weren’t no accident you found me at that titty bar, Buddy. Fact is, I was looking for something new, someone new, because I have work to do. I thought you might have been the one to stand by my side, but it looks like I was wrong, wrong, wrong.” She punctuated her words with pokes to Buddy’s chest, each causing him to shriek with fear and pain.

“Goddamn…bitch…” Buddy sputtered, blood bubbling at his lips.

“Even now, you just can’t let shit go, can you?” Wanda Jean rolled her eyes in disbelief. With the slash of a fingernail, she cut through her seat belt, her hands unbelievably fast, catching herself before she fell to the roof of the overturned vehicle.

“Aw shit Buddy, you done turtled your car!” she exclaimed, as she slithered out of the ruined car.  The smell of gasoline was strong; the tank had ruptured and fuel was dribbling out. Wanda Jean looked at the growing puddle of gas, cleared her throat, and spat at Buddy, who had by now also smelled the gas. Despite the angry protests of his ruined body, he was trying to claw his way out of the El Camino.

Wanda Jean stood and watched his pathetic struggle, still giggling at his pain. She’d put up with so much from this clown; the verbal abuse, the threats of violence, the leers from his degenerate friends, the hostility of his mother, living in that goddamn trailer, because she thought that he could be the one to stand at her side when she took her rightful place in the world.

“Not this time, shitheel.” Wanda Jean pulled a cigarette from its battered pack, struck a match on her zipper, and inhaled deeply. Nothing as satisfying as a smoke to help with life’s little troubles. One more inhalation took the cigarette nearly down to the filter, which she tossed absentmindedly at the puddle of gas.

The butt landed and almost went out; then, an almost inaudible foomp signaled ignition, as flames raced toward the tank. The sudden increase in heat panicked Buddy, whose screams  were those of terror, rather than simple pain and fear. The car erupted suddenly, cloaking Buddy in an envelope of fire, his screams silenced forever by the flames consuming his clothes, his skin, his muscle. Even as he burned, he tried desperately to pull himself out of the car, his pain sensors now completely shut down as his body went into full panic survival mode.

Wanda watched with mild interest, having seen such things before, so many times before. By and by, Buddy stopped trying, and once it was clear that he wouldn’t be coming back, she reached down and snapped off a couple of his fingers, and stuffed them in the pocket of her Levi’s jacket. She loved her barbeque.

Wanda Jean climbed up the embankment and onto the highway. She bent at the waist and fluffed her auburn hair, then stood quickly, throwing her hair back. After a quick adjustment with her bra (one of them had popped out in the crash), and she began walking, backward, her thumb raised, just a pretty girl in need of a ride.

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Jameson awoke with a start, checked the clock, saw that it was 3:37am. His mouth was throbbing; he reckoned that was what had stirred him from slumber. Cautiously, he probed with his tongue, hoping to find whatever was causing him pain. Delicately, he found a soft, tender spot on the roof of his mouth, along the right side. He pushed the spot tenderly, and was repaid with a dull ache; whatever it was, it appeared to be subsiding. He shoved the sheets aside and padded to the bathroom, swallowed a couple aspirin, went back to bed, and forgot all about it.

Two nights later, he was again awakened by the phantom pain in his mouth. Poking around with his tongue, the tip settled on the same spot as before. This time, however, he felt something shift, as though trying to move away from him. Cautiously, he opened his mouth and inserted a finger, and applied light pressure to the spot. Again, it felt as though there were something just beneath the flesh, trying to shy away from the attention it was receiving. This time though, he felt a sharp prick on the tip of his finger, almost as if it had been stung. It hurt for a moment, then went numb.

“Bloody fucking hell,” he said to the empty bedroom, his voice ringing loudly in the darkness, much louder than it should have. He jammed another finger into his mouth, this time stabbing blindly at the roof of his mouth in search of whatever was in there. Feeling a slight, shifting bump under his finger, he pushed roughly against it, and heard a faint pok as though something had burst. Instantly, his tongue was flooded with a viscous fluid, acrid and rotten tasting.

Jameson sprung from the bed, his lips clamped together even as the bile rose in his throat and he sprinted for the bathroom, flinging up the toilet lid at the last possible moment, and spat into the bowl. Successful at having not throwing up, Jameson raised his head and inspected the effluvia, a dank, clotted, amber mess floating atop the water. Recoiling at the sight and smell of it, he raised his hands to his mouth while his tongue poked bout his soft palate. This time, it found several small, stiff bristles jutting out of the tissue and almost instantly, Jameson found himself engulfed in a rage, the likes of which he’d never experienced before.

His mind raced, filled with images of incredible violence and brutality, the type of things he’d typically shy away from, but now, now, there was a phantasmagorical orgy of awfulness in his head, and he found himself enjoying it in ways that made him extremely uncomfortable. The sensation passed as quickly as it had come on, leaving Jameson tired and confused. On shaky legs, he returned to bed. “What is happening to me,” he sighed, as sleep claimed the night.

“Open wide, Mr Jameson,” Doctor Shyne said. “I can see a bit of bruising up there, but not much…oh, my.”

“Wha? Oh ma wha?” Jameson attempted to ask.

With a steel dental probe in one hand and a small mirror in the other, the dentist examined the roof of Jameson’s mouth, which now appeared to be undulating, as though many things bumped and writhed just beneath the surface of the tissue. He found the bristles that his patient had complained of, and saw that they were moving, moving in such a way that…they’re legs, he thought to himself.

The dentist took a syringe from his instrument tray, which his assistant had already filled with Novocain. As the needle neared Jameson’s mouth, however, Dr Shyne felt resistance, as if an invisible hand were pushing him away. The more he tried, the harder the resistance until, with a frustrated sigh, he put the syringe down.

“Mr Jameson, I’m afraid we’ve done what we can,” he said, whilst pulling off his latex gloves. “We’ll check the x-rays in the morning and see what we may be dealing with. I’ll be in touch tomorrow.”

*****

Jameson was back in the examination chair, Dr Shyne and his assistant attending. Jameson always felt nervous in the presence of the assistant; she was young and rather attractive, in a way that made him ashamed to have dental problems, that this pretty girl might find a man of his age appealing if it weren’t for the occasional cavity or, now, this unknown thing that was happening.

Today, he could not help but notice that she had failed to fasten the topmost buttons on her top, revealing her small breasts in a most lascivious way, cupped ever so gently in their cradle of purple lace, the lusty color mocking the austerity of her smock, as Dr Shyne settled in next to him. The dentist looked harried, like he hadn’t slept well the night before; his shirt was wrinkled and stained, his breath reeking of alcohol, cigarettes, and mouthwash. Jameson found it odd that he had been strapped into the chair, when they’d never done that before.

“Alright then, let’s see what we have,” Shyne sighed wearily, as he hooked his fingers over Jameson’s top teeth with his right hand, and the bottom teeth with his left. With a grunt, he pulled the jaws apart, the pain incomprehensible as Jameson’s facial muscles tore apart, his jaw separating from his skull with a sound of bone against bone, tendons stretching and popping, while his mouth filled with blood. Too shocked to scream, Jameson struggled against the leather restraints, blood gurgling from the remains of his ruined face, as he felt his upper palate tear open and something…something, emerged.

Jameson’s mind simply stopped working when he attempted to understand that which he was seeing, this awful, grey, alien, insect-like thing rising from within himself, its skin or shell or whatever it was glistening sickly in the fluorescent light of the dental office. Arms, so many arms, unfolded from it, the thin sticks playing over the wreckage of his face, surely and steadily finding their way toward his eyes…

*****

Jameson sat bolt upright in bed, his chest heaving with exertion, his body slicked with sweat. Never in his life had he experienced a nightmare so terrifying, so real, as this. Hesitantly, he brought his hands to his face, and found that his jaw and teeth were indeed where they ought to be, that it had been a dream, just a really bad dream, that nothing of the sort had actually happened.

In the stillness of the night, Jameson heard a rustling, wet and faint, and a tickle at the back of his throat. Absentmindedly, his tongue moved to the roof of his mouth where, instead of the familiar landscape of his mouth’s roof, he felt a writhing mass of hard objects, shells, carapaces, and the tickle of impossibly thin appendages picking away at the flesh, digging under his teeth and casting the unnecessarily aside, the pain unimaginable as whatever it was began the laborious process of the next step of its evolution. Blood, bile, pus, unthinkable fluids dripped from the corner of Jameson’s slackened jaw, while his ears dimly registered the sound of his front door being kicked in, the rough wood splintering in much the way that his sanity was splintering, his eyes registering but not quite seeing the two men wearing black suits and surgical masks approach him boldly, drawing pistols from holsters hidden beneath their jackets.

“Mr Jameson,” one of the men said, his voice strong and resonant in the near darkness, “You are in possession of something that belongs to us, and we need to take it back.”

“Bah…don’ noe…” Jameson said, his throat thick with gore while the things inside him dug their way upward, feasting on his optic nerves while his eyes sank deeper into their sockets, the pressure causing them to burst, while the bugs, if that’s what they were, fell onto the sweet jelly that had once filled Jameson’s pale blue eyes and still, he didn’t scream, not even as the things, burrowed through that last barrier and into his brain. Through the initial breach they filed, heading off into different directions, following the ancient code to their appointed places and, as they did so, Jameson’s arms and legs began to twitch, slowly and clumsily at first, but with a rapidly growing efficiency, as his legs swung over the side of the bed and his body, those things that were now in control of it, stood him up on his feet.

Throughout it all, Jameson had maintained consciousness, as if this awareness were some gift bestowed upon him by the invaders. He could feel every bite they took of him, every hole they made, every bit they took away, he felt it all but was powerless to stop it, powerless even to speak. Though his eyes were gone, he could still see but now, instead of two men in front of him, he saw two hundred, a hundred doorways, a hundred hallway lights, and it vaguely reminded him of a film he had seen as a child, about a man who could see through the compound eyes of a housefly, but still he couldn’t speak, he couldn’t ask, plead, demand, that the men, these men who had broken into his home, please kill me, just kill me, please make it stop, make me dead, happily and oh so joyously dead…

The first of the men stared at the ruins of the man jerkily approaching him and calmly raised his pistol, and gently squeezed the trigger. The small-caliber bullet entered Jameson’s skull just above the eye socket, but did not exit, instead rattling and bouncing around inside the cranium until the body fell unceremoniously to the floor. Standing over the remains of Jameson, the men both put several more rounds into Jameson’s head, their eyes unblinking, showing no expression.

The chirp of a mobile phone interrupted the stillness, and the second man fished in his pocket for the device. Bringing it to his ear he listened, nodded, and spoke to his partner.

“Drop the match and let’s get out of here. There’s more hatching down the street.”

As the men departed Jameson’s house, the fire inside was gaining power, growing in strength and purifying intensity. It was going to be a long night.

Here. Click on this and buy my book. I am neither proud nor subtle.

Here. Click on this and buy my book. I am neither proud nor subtle.

“If you took equal parts John Steinbeck, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, you’d get Michael LaPointe’s bastard lovechild, Unworthy.  This is a dark and brutal road trip into hell.  An unforgivingly savage story, elegantly told, Unworthy is, ultimately, an open-ended investigation into the nature of evil.  This novel is proof that horror fiction remains a vital part of our continuing effort to understand what makes us human.”
-Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Dog Days and Plague of the Undead

Hiya from the dark side of the beach; there’s cookies on the table. So, here’s the thing: Unworthy is finally available at Amazon. Much work remains to be done in the way of marketing, but now I have a place to point at and say, “There. Get it there.”

Thanks for sticking with me this far, so now let’s relax a bit and enjoy this thing. Except for me, because there’s much yet to be done. So you, you there, sit back, have a cookie, and commence to reading.

UnworthyBig day. Epic day. This crazy little journey that began five years ago is either over, or is just getting underway. Depends on your perspective, I guess. Anyway, the thing is this: my novel, Unworthy, is out, published, and available. This is one of those deep and quiet moments, sitting here in my den with Maggie at my feet and Thin Lizzy on the radio, when I realize that it’s actually done. I can’t go back and tweak and futz with the story.

The story will be available at Amazon in a couple of days; however, it is available now via the publisher. Click on the book cover at left to go get it!

Recently, I became aware that Colin Hay (formerly of Men At Work and the Land Down Under), now a resident of Los Angeles, has had a rather prolific solo career and a rather good one at that. The music and accompanying lyrics tend toward the introspective, and speak of a man who has found his place in life and discovered that most elusive of treasures: contentment. While many of his songs strike a chord with me, the one that stands out the most is that for which this post is titled.

Waiting For My Real Life to Begin is about a guy who believes that “Any minute now, my ship is coming in,” who spends his time checking the horizon and waiting for life to come rushing to him which, of course, it never does. There is a second voice to the song, that of the woman who loves him, telling him to “Just be here now, forget about the past, your mask is wearing thin.” She knows what he is too terrified to admit: that he is mired in a swamp of regret, bent and broken by the past, and uncertain of the future.

For most of my adult life I was that guy. I drifted aimlessly, waiting for life to come knocking at my door which, of course, it never did. I bounced from one job to another with no plan, endured a bad marriage and survived a bad divorce, all the while waiting for my ship to come in which, not surprisingly, never happened. Somehow, I managed to grudgingly learn a thing or two along the way and met someone who saw my potential, inspired me to lay claim to my own life, and advised me to forget about the past because, apparently, my own mask was wearing thin.

Which is all so easy to say; so easy, in fact, that it sounds more than a little trite. Those years of drifting were sometimes fun and sometimes terrible, but the thing is, what no one tells you, is that time passes so damn quickly, you really will miss it if you blink. When I was young, older people (friends, co-workers, etc) would tell me things like “Don’t worry, you’ve got all the time in the world,” and “You have so much time to figure it out.” The rub is, however, that these statements are absolutely, positively, completely, horseshit.

Go to sleep one night at the age of eighteen, and wake up to find you’re twenty-seven. Celebrate your thirtieth birthday, and you’re blowing out forty-two candles. That’s how fast is happens, and once those years are gone, they are not coming back. Your friends become parents and then grandparents; people you knew from childhood die of cancer and AIDS and car crashes and some commit suicide because life can be awfully damned hard and not everyone can take the pressures of it and then one day you’re burying a parent and wondering how in the hell everyone got so old, so fast, head spinning in disbelief at the absolute ridiculousness of it, and waking up with stiff knees and a sore back, deciding against going on the fun rides at the county fair, and not understanding the music these kids listen to nowadays, and what the hell is the deal with those sagging pants anyway, and why don’t I have a proper career and when exactly did I become so broken, so defective, so caught completely unaware of this grownup world around me?

That is how quickly it happens. Sitting there, waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever did. Because I didn’t have focus, didn’t have a plan, didn’t have a goal, didn’t have a direction, didn’t have faith in myself, something, anything. Don’t wait for tomorrow, because it comes way too soon. So into this madness comes The One Who Makes It All Make Sense, and it’s as though the light came on for the first time and it’s so beautiful and so brilliant that one can barely stand to look at it, but I look at it, I look at it constantly, and I begin to see, really see, and it’s all so amazing, so wonderful, that I can’t help but be here now, for now and for ever, because this is here and now is when and it all just falls together. Turns out I needed someone to gently point me in the right direction, and she did just that, because sometimes some of us need that simple thing, that push, that nudge, that one little thing that changes everything and makes everything wonderful.

And now, having found the wherewithal to not be broken, to not be defective or inert, I have found my path, my calling, and it finally, I can see a ship on the horizon. My real life has finally begun.

Click on Colin for a nice surprise!

See, here’s the thing, the thing that really means this is happening. I just uploaded my book to the formatter who will then, you know, format the story and then, it’s ready to go. Ready to go. Ready. To. Go.

Up until around right now, it’s all been rather abstract. Yes, I started and finished writing a story, although I still hesitate calling myself a writer because, well, I don’t know why. The polite small talk, the “Ah, I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” and “Oh, I have such a great story idea,” all of that stuff, it really didn’t impact me much. Kinda felt like I was pretending, especially when I have had trouble accurately describing the story to people. And finishing things isn’t exactly my strong suit, so there is that.

But now, now dammit, it’s real. It’s real because I started and finished it. It’s real because it’s finally out of my hands and in the system and after that, it will be available for people, strangers even, to buy and read. It’s real because eight years after he said it, my father’s suggestion (that I try writing for a living) is actually happening and damn, I wish I’d gotten there sooner so he could have seen it.  So, in a large sense, it’s over. All the planning and plotting, the scheming and scribbling, the whining and the yelling, is over. Over.

And now people I know and people I don’t know will be able to read it and judge me and my story and the way I chose to tell it. If that’s not reasonable grounds for a proper freakout, then I don’t know the meaning of the word.

As I’ve mentioned in previous writings, I grew up in California; born in the mid-60s, my cultural awareness started in the early 70s. By the time I reached junior high school in 1978, I was familiar with a wide variety of music. Mom was into the Stones, Janis Joplin and classical, while Dad loved jazz and country – not the bullshit that’s passing for country today – the real stuff, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Don Williams. In the car, most of the non-Spanish language stations were AM pop which, for my money, was the Golden Age of pop music. So, I’m pretty well rounded when it comes to music.

When I was in junior high, I also began attending a Christian church, a precursor to the so-called mega churches of today, and in the special junior high Sunday School group, they counseled us endlessly on the evils of secular music, how KISS was an acronym for Knights In Satan’s Service, how Santana was just another way of saying Satan, and that Supertramp was going to Hell for that passage in Goodbye Stranger where the singer says the Devil is his savior, never mind that the lyrics are taken completely out of context and the real meaning of the song is entirely different.

In other words, us impressionable kids were being taught about the evils of the world, via pop music, by a bunch of fucking idiots.

However, no band was held in lower regard for their wholesale embracing of darkness and evil than…The Eagles. Because Hotel California is totally about Hell and what an awesome place it is, and also because of the infamous back cover photo and the ultimate evil it beheld: the shadowy visage of Satan and/or Anton LaVey, the legendary eccentric and founder of the Church of Satan, and with whom I coincidentally share a birthday.

Seriously.

Seriously.

I want to add that many years later, I actually met Anton LaVey at a gun show in San Francisco, and for what it’s worth, he was a cordial, nice, and genuinely funny guy. The thing is, when you forbid a bunch of pre-teen boys something that’s so bloody evil, that’s exactly where they’re going to end up. So we listened to the album, basking in the glow of all that evil, much to the consternation of our Sunday School teachers who were, as I’ve previously mentioned, a bunch of fucking idiots.

This was also a source of serious concern.

The upshot is that the very people who were trying to condemn The Eagles were the ones responsible for my knowing of them. Being the 1970s, in California, The Eagles were exceedingly popular. They were all over the radio, with their kickback songs of about takin’ it to the limit while takin’ it easy, having a Tequila Sunrise with the New Kid in Town, while livin’ in the fast lane with a Desperado who was a Victim of Love and thought it all might be Wasted Time. The Eagles’ Greatest Hits is the third best-selling album in music history, beaten only by Thriller and Dark Side of the Moon.

So…I was an Eagles fan. I owned The Long Run and their live album, and as time went on, their music became a staple of the local rock and classic rock stations, sowing their seeds of cynicism and the deep bummer of being globetrotting, cocaine-fueled rock stars. I never really thought much about it; my buddies liked The Eagles (I bailed on the church thing pretty quickly), and I gave the matter little thought.

Except that years later, I realized that I was switching channels whenever an Eagles song came on the radio. When Hotel California started playing somewhere, I mentally counted back the number of days that had passed since the last time I’d heard Hotel California (a number which rarely went into double digits). Obviously something was amiss, but then something miraculous happened. But first, a digression.

By the late 1990s, the Coen Brothers had solidly established themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the film industry. Since Blood Simple, their 1984 debut, they had given audiences Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, and Fargo. My love for their work and their highly stylized filmmaking marked them as true originals. In 1998, however, they released The Big Lebowski, a movie which, I admit, I just didn’t get at the time. Truth be told, I don’t understand the enormity of its cult following, except perhaps the stoners out there find a hero of sorts in Jeff Lebowski, a man-child who lives in a dumpy LA apartment, flakes on his rent, and has to bounce a check for a carton of milk. Whatever; I’m not judging. In the years since, I’ve warmed to the film considerably, seeing it as a sort of existentialist mystery, an LA story, and a meditation on weed, bowling, and whatever else; possibly nothing at all. However, what stuck with me from the start was one line in the movie. One line.

With that, my mind was blown. Somehow, I had never realized that, despite all the airplay, despite the record sales, that there might actually be people who didn’t like The Eagles, that it was even possible. Somehow, I just figured it was part of living here; that we were all fans by default. It simply never dawned on me that we had any choice in the matter. I realize this makes me look not terribly bright, but that’s the truth of it. It took The Dude for me to see the light.

I hate The Eagles. I hate their tepid, mediocre, soulless country-rock, I hate their world-weariness, their intellectual posturing, their gutless riding of Gram Parsons’ coattails, the idiot disco of One of These Nights, their cover of Tom Waits’ Ol’ 55 (how dare they!), the pissy infighting of spoiled millionaire rock stars that led to the breakup, Glenn Frey’s entire shitheaded solo career, and their inevitable reunion tours. But mostly, it’s the music: an coworker recently told me that the reason I don’t like The Eagles is because musically, they’re just not challenging. “You hear a song of theirs once, and you’ve heard everything there is to hear,” she told me. “There’s nothing beneath the surface, no subtext, no deeper meaning.”

And thus The Dude showed me the truth. Hell, I don’t even have to have a reason to hate the Eagles; I can hate them like I hate Foreigner and U2 for the simple reason that they just suck.

That’s my story.

 

midvaleIt’s been a few weeks since the first round of submissions to agents. I’ve received two rejections but other than that, nothing. Nada. Every agency and publisher I wrote to stated very clearly that it will take at least four to six weeks for a response.

I am aware of this.

And yet, I’m stuck in limbo and it sucks. Because of a number of things in the last month or so, I’m feeling stuck in a rut of non-creativity, and while there are things that need doing, I can’t seem to do them. I have a new review to post for Zombie Hamster, but thus far lack the skills to successfully upload it myself. I have a film to watch and review, but can’t seem to find a way to watch Region 2 dvds on my computer. Everyone says it’s easy, but it’s just not happening.

Treading water is not good, and the frustration is mounting. I can’t focus on new stories, I desperately want an agent to simply take a chance with me, and get this thing on track.

I’ve never been good with patience.

On a more personal note, I lost a friend and co-worker this week. We’ve all been dealing with the shock and sorrow of it, and I think the cracks are beginning to show. I’m definitely feeling rushed, because this big life thing happened, and it reminds me that this time we have is short, which fuels the fire to get my book out there, and adds to the frustration over the process that I know, I know, takes time. My friend, the one who passed on, commented in this blog that she couldn’t wait to read my story, and now she’s gone. 

It’s not about my story. It’s about the clock ticking for all of us, and the need to realize this dream before it’s too late, to make the most of whatever time is allotted, to not waste any more time. 

Dammit.