Saturday December 12, 2009. Regular instruction, past, passed. Today, I begin the direction for which I have so long longed. I hate malls around this time, but there are more characters than I can count and quantify. I’ll trap as many as I can. For what, why do I need to know that now?
My process today, entailing the student’s role. Let me explain. I want to teach Creative Writing, and Fiction(!) at the university level, some day. So, I’ve been cooking up some exercises, routines. Today, I use my Self as the testing suspect for one such set of creative calisthenics.
Prompt: capture three characters, then compose a descriptive and insightful paragraph, or more, on each. Please give each character a name. What do they do for a living? What’s their favorite food, movie? Do they have any phobias? Travel as far into your characters as the Craft allows.
12:22pm. Three characters. 1) Bald, twenty something guy, early twenties, looking at cheap, flashy jewelry. Shaved head, big tattoo on neck. That had to hurt, right? 2) Creepy guy, 40s, resting elbows on railing, looking down at shoppers on first floor, all the traffic. He’s wearing and old camouflage hat, and a checkered, red and black, long sleeve shirt over a hooded sweater. His sideburns extend to the middle of his cheek, then out towards his mouth, and widen gradually. 3) A guy working in a video game store, late 20s. Asked for his opinion on a game, to get some dialogue. Smart character. In front of me, he and his colleague, a younger male, compared and contrasted a few pairs of games. The character of focus dissected and analyzed each element of each game. He presented himself as a credible critic, with limitless expertise.
What will I do with these roles? Which one do I like the best? Still need to do the assignment, as I have it outlined. I hate seeing book stores take books that aren’t selling off the shelves. Saddest thing, to me. How I hope I’m never one of those books. The rain is falling like it never wants to leave. Just now am I having my first mocha, 3:55p. A deli, with a wine bar within. I could see myself running such, as owner of course. Still quite Zen with the reality that approaches with the coming year. Not going to miss Solano or SRJC. Some of the students will stay in my thoughts, and I’m determined to keep our interactions there. Others, I will be even more diligent in attempts to scrape them from memory. More time to write, sell my art, permitting there are actually people out there that would read my work. Still want to start that critically reading log that I mentioned a while ago.
The character with the sideburns, I am giving him the name Ted. Just watching him look down at the consumer traffic chilled me. His face was without any conspicuous expression. The others, not sure what to do with them. I know what you’re thinking. “Mike, you’re not doing your own homework.” You’re right. Looking through my P&W issue, looking for a lit mag. Found two. I must be published, beyond by myself. It’s just something I want. Or do I? Fuck, I’m a mess. I bet some of my students, present/past, are reading this and thinking “Wow he’s fucked up.” You’re right.
Just thought about Martin Eden, how I first taught it in Fall ’07, in the SRJC 1A section I had on MW, 11a-12:50p. That book, amazing. The character, more so. Hoping I rise like Mr. Eden. Back to the Room tomorrow. Always eager to see what I’ll encounter, what questions. I just hope I don’t have to deal with too many fucking wine club members, the kind that are royalty in their own eyes. Can’t stand those pigs.
10:42pm. Spilled 800+ words out into a doc on this little laptop today, for a short. Going to start submitting again, I’ve decided. I will self-publish, still, only in moderation. It will be my secondary focus. I want these piggish lit mags to recognize me. I’m waging a new war, against the pig mags. They will not be able to resist this prose. Short stories, in the practice of these concise heavens.
I’m thinking that I need to finish my homework, but I can’t right now. I’m too relaxed. I’m freewriting, writing freely. But why can’t I stop writing, just relax on this couch, watch the news. JUST RELAX? I need to write. Every second of all days that net my existence.
What would James Joyce do? I want to put my Self in a random, unexpected setting, see what I would write. Sipping some powerful Dry Creek Zin. Lovely. You know, once I was thinking about writing a novel about a stripper who was writing a novel about being a stripper. The story would be set in SF.
Monday December 14, 2009. Sent away two shorts to three lit mags. I’m back in the game. And, I finished a 1950-word short story. My approach has yet again been revamped. I want something to look forward to, even if it’s a rejection letter. A rejection letter is a response, an acknowledgement that I exist as a writer.
10:37pm. Just found a few typos in my blog. This infuriates me to a bad fucking place! My readers, meaning you, probably think I’m an imbecile. Please accept my apologies. Actually, I digress. I won’t ask for pardon. This is a log, a log written by a Human. Hence, there will be a couple, a few, many, errors. Just wanted to let you know that I noticed I was Human.
Passed 1000 tonight. Received my first official confirmation that this log is being read. I’m beyond pleased. I’m giddy, silly, obnoxious. I’ve been read! Do you know what this feels like? Thank you, Serah! Just thought about New York, and if this penmanship takes me there. WHEN it takes me there. Can’t even imagine how my being would respond to the stage. Manhattan. The streets, the sounds, the characters. Oh characters, characters. Literature is nothing, truly bland without them.