The Aberrant Writer

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Today I purchased a hollow cement sculpture of a baby’s skull. Its eyes; empty, its surface; smooth like plaster, its smile; dead and flat.  This skull, which was so recently housed at the local antique store in my town, with a tag that noted “plant pot? candleholder?” now sits on my bookcase, staring at me with dead vacant eyes, as words spill from my fingertips and onto my computer.

I think you have to embrace your eccentric side to be creative. I embrace my idiosyncrasies and bask in the manic periods I may have, writing so fast my fingers feel as if they will fall off. I take full advantage of those periods. No subject is taboo. Writing is about exposing yourself to the world, and feeling stronger every time.

Somewhere, on the horizon, lies multiple projects that my mind is vomiting as I run, drive, breath, eat, and work. I now have to prioritize them, and work on them with a fervent zeal that would make David Koresh look like a bible salesman.

In the end I have a few hurdles to conquer, but I guess, the real question that I must ask myself is, would a clown really give me their blood?

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The Night Was….

The night was humid.

Throw Momma From the Train is the best movie about author’s and the dilemmas writers face. It encompassed it all, from writer’s block to envy, to the shitty book that is published while you are standing their wondering, “that offal was published but mine continues to get refused.”

The night was moist.

Who hasn’t sat down at their desk, staring at their computer, wondering what the first line will be, or better yet, just waiting for something, anything to eke from their fingertips that is legible. I have sat there more than once, thinking to myself, I really need to write, only to find myself there an hour later, having a white screen facing me.

The night was dry, yet it was raining.

I have sat typing away in a fury, the words spilling forth from my fingers to keyboard, only to go back later, and wonder, what the hell was that. It sounded great in my head. I was able to visualize the scene and the characters. I could hear their dialogue, but what I wrote just doesn’t make much sense. I guess that’s why we have multiple drafts. The best is when you have checked four drafts, you hand that off to a friend to read, and they send you a text, “what does this mean?” You sit their, staring at the line on your computer screen, and you think to yourself I missed that FOUR times. Thats what friends are for, especially smart, well read friends.

Maybe the night isn’t humid. Maybe it was humid in the morning, and the night it was cold. That gives you fog. Aha, the night was foggy.

This is the kind of petty, psychotic, crap which bogs me down. I stand there, trying to think of a word, screaming the thought in my head, pacing my office sometime as if one of the other walls, which are all in close proximity to each other, might give away a clue to this conundrum. And then you erase it all and stick with your original–the night was humid.

The night was sultry.

And then there is that person. That person in your life who just flings out a word, a phrase, and you would die for it to be your original thought. Because putting it down on paper, you would die a slow death inside knowing something that great in your manuscript was not yours. Thanks for the encouragement, hopefully my mind will erase this moment like liquor does a frat boys memories of four years of college, so just keep your creative thoughts to yourself. But again, thanks for that help.

And then you wake up in the middle of the night, the only thing you have to write on is a scrap of paper, yet a whole manuscript starts vomiting from your mind. Great, thank you for this moment. I guess who can complain, take it where you can get it.

 

 

 

The Collector’s Disappointment

He arrived at home, and noticed the package sitting outside on the stoop, leaning against the aged red brick, with crumbling mortar barely holding its walls in place. It sat there, the white address label neatly printed in blue ink, staring at him, its brown paper wrapping beaten and abused from lengthy travels. Standing there mouth agape, he just stared at the package with a sense of trepidation. He didn’t touch it, or advance toward it, but stood paused, frozen in his step, as his heart pounded within his chest, each pulsation of quivering muscle thumping his ribs.

Bending over, he wrapped his fingers around the coarse brown paper which enveloped this package, his hands and fingers trembling as he held it out before himself at arms length, turning the package in his quaking hands to see all sides. Beads of sweat formed and rolled down his forehead, descending toward his nose, and with one quick swipe of his sleeve he smeared the moisture across his brow, leaving a glistening sheen of salt.

He stood absolutely still, a statued sentinel to forever guard whatever monument he watched over to only crumble with age and time. Eventually the stalemate was broken, and he moved toward the door of his apartment, retreating from the oppressing heat of the day, with the package securely in hand. Pulling it toward his body, he now cradled it with extreme caution, as if this box itself held the most precious and delicate life on earth and if he not be careful, it should forever become extinguished.

He thought to himself how long he had waited for this day to come. How much anticipation had been built in his head as he relished the moment which he was soon to experience. Beside himself and atwitter with anticipation, it was as if he hadn’t opened that door a hundred times, forgetting which key entered the lock to move each tumbler aside as he fumbled with key after key, a frustration and excitement building, as if a child who needs to pee, dancing his dance, waiting his turn at the public restroom. He realized that this was taking far longer than he wished, and finding the key, he entered the hallway to his building, and hurried himself down to his ramshackle door, the white paint flaking off in large strips, as if pieces of bacon taken down to fry in a cast iron pan.

Flinging open the door to the apartment, he stepped inside and with the package securely under arm pulled tight into his ribs, he whipped his head up and down the hallway, scanning for anyone who might have seen him, and satisfied that he was alone and not seen, shut the door slowly, as a loud creak from the aged hinges announced his presence with a grating irritation. The click from each lock was a satisfying sound, and placing his back against the door, he held the package out in amazement, still not believing what he held within his hand was his, was real, was tangible. He was alone with it now. Of all the people on earth, of everyone alive, he was the only person he knew to hold these in his hands.

Although the package was still wrapped, he caressed it as if he was holding the items themselves, no longer covered by the cardboard. Sitting at his kitchen table, he placed the rectangular object on the dirty and cracked formica surface and just looked at it. After a minute, and with an unsuspecting suddenness that even scared himself, he tore into the brown wrapping, throwing paper through the air, brown butterflies alighting with each tear of his fingers into the bundle’s covering.

He held them in his hand, gingerly resting them in his palm like a baby bird, fragile and scared, having fallen out of its nest. He looked at their bright colors and knew there was one more step before he was done, before his ecstasy was complete. Running into the other room he took a glass from the cabinet, but then stopped as if he was wrenched back by some unseen bungee cord attached to his back, which he pulled too far and tightened against his spine with no further give. His hand slipped to his side, as if it was no longer alive, the glass barely held by his fingertips as they scarcely gripped the lip of the cup. He hung his head and stared at the sink, deflated as he realized that his excitement had flown away like the brown paper butterflies which had drifted through the air.

Hoping against hope he picked up the receiver of the phone, and dialed zero for the operator. The strangers unaffected voice climbed through the ear piece and crawled into his ear to speak. Asking for the Ministry of Resources, the operator sighed and connected him without any pleasantries exchanged, and then without interruption another voice, a male voice, a monotone voice, came across the line, one with a deep authoritarian tone.

“Hello,” the authoritarian man said.

“I would like permission to….”

There was a long pause as he tried to form the words which might facilitate the best possible outcome in his favor.

“Well, do you have a question? You would like permission, for?”

“For an extra water ration at this moment.”

“Is this a medical emergency. If it is, you must scan a physician slip into the phone’s reader.”

“No, it is not a medical emergency.”

“Sir, you know the ration laws don’t you? Should we send literature to your residence? You know you get water every two days. Please, if you are thirsty, then have your Doctridrink.”

“Please, I just came upon something from long ago, something from my childhood. Please. All I need is a little water. Just a cup, eight ounces, that is all I am asking for, just this once.”

“Sir, there is never just a once with you people. Everyone wants more, but there isn’t more. That is why we have laws like this, so greedy people like you don’t abuse the common resources needed for all to survive. Now please, stop wasting my time.”

“But…”

The phone went silent with an abruptness before he finished his last plea, his last beg, his last remonstration. Tears welled up in his eyes as stared at the package on the table. Walking over he picked them up, their bright colors like fluorescent easter eggs all five fitting in the palm of his hand. Hot pink, electric blue, fluorescent green, lemon yellow, and bright orange capsules, all rested in his hand.

The package lay on the floor in a crumpled heap. Pictures of dinosaurs decorated the card-stock, brightly colored and poorly drawn, with a volcano erupting in the background, its hot lava spewing over the mountainside. The package boasted, “Just add water and watch the grow, 4 times their size, for hours of fun.”

Placing them on the table, he picked up his glass, and began to cry. Hanging his head over the small cup, tears dropped into the clear container, running down the smooth side. He looked at the small globule of liquid and cringed at how little it filled the glass. Cursing evaporation which would fight against him, he brought his most painful memories to the surface, each tear a memory of loss and regret, dropping into that glass, one minuscule bead of liquid at a time.

The Philosophy of Durden

Everybody wants to be Tyler Durden, even if it is only for a short moment of time. No person alive wouldn’t want that much confidence to well up inside them on occasion and course through their body like a surge of epinephrine, enlivening their inner powerhouse. You want to sit back and say “Fuck it” with an utter calm and coolness that even Frank Sinatra himself could not conjure. We all want the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings that fueled Tyler and gave him his cool, to truly believe the devil be damned attitude rather than a mask we wear. This cool, to look abject danger in the eye with an ambivalence and apathy, is reserved for only those with Ubach-Wiethe disease–but yet they didn’t choose that. In the End, everyone wants to have control over themselves with the fuck all attitude that Tyler Durden lived with.

As the Boeing 777-300 takes off from Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, the Aerflot planes shakes uncontrollably with an extreme shudder of seat, wall, floor, and myself. This feeling–unusual in my flying experience–I wonder to myself, what would my last thoughts be if this hunk of metal dropped out of the sky like a molotov cocktail thrown off a building, bursting into a ball of flames among the trees and apartment buildings on the ground below? Would my last thoughts be of my wife and dog waiting for me at home? Would I think fondly of my family, and smile about the memories? Would I feel apathy or regret, anger or sadness, fear or confusion, denial or terror, or, would I ride that plane down to the ground, like Slim Pickens straddling that nuke down to the USSR, as he dropped the bomb on those cold war Ruskis. I wonder if in that moment, my inner Tyler Durden would materialize, and I would have some insightful pithy saying, forever etched in time, to spit in the eye of death and say “give me seconds please.” One could only hope, because, well, at that point, you can’t change the outcome.

I guess the true cool, the real hip, the James Deans, the Frank Sinatras, the Tyler Durdens, they accepted, instead of denied, moved on, instead of regretted. I think in the end, it is that acceptance of the inevitable which defines the coolest of the cool. Hell, when the world collides with Melancholia, I hope to be sitting on the lawn of some house, its verdant lawn stretching down to the crashing ocean, with my friends and family by my side, my wife and dog right next to me. Drinking the most expensive bottle of rye whisky ever made, we will sit there sipping manhattans made with ruby port, and I’ll dress in a black suit, black tie, white shirt, with dark cruiser sunglasses on, my bare feet feeling those soft, flexing blades of grass between my toes. I will watch the earth spin into oblivion with a coolness reserved only for the classic hip.

In the meantime, I will settle for plane flights with free wine served from the flight attendant’s cart. But, in the event the world spins out of control, I should stock up on whisky. I mean, you never know who might crash the party.

A Luminescent Radiance of Moonlight

She touched me in the waning moonlight, the room a spectral blue hue, as she ran her fingers across the muscles in my back. Her fingertips trailed across my shoulders, and I could feel the lightest touch, as if the wispiest feather blew across my back, dancing in the night’s breeze. My eyes remained shut, but my mind awoke, and a thousand jumbled thoughts ricocheted chaotic, blanketed by the hush of the night. I remained a corpse, a body lying still. No movement, feigning sleep, an unconscious state, all the while afraid to face her thoughts. And then, her voice broke the silence of the iron room, our imagined cell, shattering my sleeping charade.

“I feel empty. Like a part of me is missing. I feel torn, split in two, a fissure running through my heart,” Diana spoke with a hollow voice, all emotion torn from her throat.

I lay there, a hateful, vengeful voice inside my head, screaming at me, maligning her, and I cowered at its domineering nature. I did not say a word, I lay their in the abject silence, which tore a chasm in bed between us.

“John, please, speak to me. Yell at me. Get angry. Be sad, but for god sakes, say something. I didn’t mean to do it. It wasn’t my fault. It’s not like I wanted this. For Christ’s sake, speak to me.”

Her voice cracked as her frustration oozed out. Diana’s pleading became angry yells as she commanded me to talk.

I shrugged off her touch, which had become aggressive, the light feather having blown away on a gale wind, and instead felt like a thorny bush scratching at my back, tugging at flesh and dermis. Standing up, I walked over to the window, and stared out onto the night street. I basked in the cool moonlight as my body became luminescent, a pallid blue nude, like a marble statue, pale, lifeless, cold. I did not care who would see, instead I hoped people would witness us trapped in our prison.

“It’s not your fault, but it is. You knew the consequences of your actions. You can’t ask me to forgive you, when your actions are your own. I did not put that bottle to your mouth. I did not ask you to drink,” I said.

“You don’t know. Don’t accuse me. I am looking for solace, for help. Why won’t you comfort me? I lost just as you did. It was my body, not yours. You don’t know what it feels like, to lose a piece of you.”

Her voice was shaky and accusatory. Rage built up behind her words, a fire building, ready to flashover, and consume us and all of the room in an intense inferno.

“You’re right, I don’t know what that feels like, but I can’t just turn off my emotions. I look at you and see a murderer, a person who took to the bottle, and pulled the trigger. What did you expect would happen?”

“How dare you? We are joined together. You are not allowed to treat me this way. You are supposed to love and support me, to nourish and comfort me, instead you pass condemnation. Your judgement is a death sentence for me.”

“I am not the one who passed the death sentence. I am not the one who could not control themselves, who could not show a little restraint. Only nine months. That’s all you needed, nine months, and you couldn’t even do that. Don’t you see you have a problem. It’s an addiction. The bottle has a hold on you. It comforts you more than I ever can, and controls you, pulling your strings like a puppeteer with a marionette.”

She threw herself out of bed, the covers flying into the statically charged night air, like a fluttering phantom in the pale light. Her body was milky, creamy, ivory in color, and she moved across the room like a poltergeist, angry, vengeful, ready to disturb the room. She floated like a wraith across the floor, moving in between the shadows, her pale body phosphorescent in the moonlight, and then dissolving into the stygian darkness, hidden from all sight as the murkiness swallowed her up. Moving back into the light, she approached me with a face contorted with ire and a hatred that seethed with a coal-fired furnace blazing behind her eyes.

“Who do you think you are? We both suffered this, you do not own all the sadness, all the emotion we have encountered. You don’t get to play judge and jury with me. You think you own this disaster, you think you are perfect, that you don’t make mistakes as well. We all live in this shitty world, a world where we float along in time which we have no knowledge of what is to come. Everyday we try and do what is right, while we navigate the intricacies of of chaos and disaster.”

“The difference is, I did not put the bottle to your lips. I did not force you to come to this conclusion, you came to this all yourself.”

“You sanctimonious prick. No, you didn’t put the bottle to my lips. You didn’t force me to drink, but I did. I had a moment of weakness, and as a result, I will have to live with this loss for the rest of my life. But you don’t get to tell me I was wrong. You were there, you knew what I was doing. You are as guilty as I am. Apathy is not an excuse, and does not exonerate you from any guilt. You think I am responsible for this tragedy, fine, I am, in part, but you can take the lion’s share. Your indifference toward me enabled me, and you watched the tragedy occur. It is as if you wanted me to fail. You were happy to watch this tragedy, if only to judge me, to be priggish in your smug demeanor. Well, you get to live with this. So go ahead and judge yourself.”

Walking away into the inky shadows, her luminous body, electric in the moonlight, evanesced into the inky shadows of the room. Diana was quiet, even her breathing seemed to disappear as her body became one with the dark shadows of the room, and I turned back, gazing out the window onto the quiet street.

After a few minutes I heard something behind me, a rattling of sorts, like a diamondback vibrating its tail, preparing to strike. It was a familiar sound, and I was made to hear it, as it broke the drowning silence of the room. The sound came closer to me through the abysmal darkness, as if she stuck strictly to the shadows, avoiding the pale blue beams of light.

Rattle. The sound was right behind me, and its familiarity struck a cord inside me. Ice tinkled inside the glass as she swirled the whisky around the mason jar. Sipping next to my ear, air passed her lips, causing a slurping sound to grate on my soul.

“Ahhh,” she exclaimed, as if this drink was a glass of water after she had marched through a desert.

I felt her nude body rub against mine as she upended the four fingers of whisky. Embracing me, her whisky lips met mine, and I could taste the stringent flavor of Old Grand Dad on my tongue as hers danced with mine. The perspiring mason jar drop to the floor with a hollow thud, and rolled across the wood floor, ice spilling out from its mouth. In the moonlight our two bodies intertwined, and the anger and hatred melted away into lust, bitterness transformed into passion.

As we made our way back to bed through the ethereal moonlight, a whisky soaked ice cube melted on the floor. The puddle stretched out into the cracks in the floor, breaking through our iron prison. Eventually the ice dissolved completely, leaving nothing but a stagnant puddle discoloring the golden strips. In the darkness, lightened by the luminescence, we forgot our transgressions, soaked in a whisky fog of early morning.

 

Killing Time

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I am killing time at the bar, waiting to interview a person for my thesis, and I sit down at the high top table with my beer, and eagerly await the tube shaped meat which is abound with lips and assholes–like my father says “everything but the squeal”–that is still being prepared. The three TVs all have extremely different programs broadcasting on their flat dull screens. To my right, Jan Michael Vincent is sitting side by side with Ernest Borgnine, soaring through the sky in AirWolf, while on the tv above the bar plays an early nineties movie with racially stereotyped characters, track suits, Fila, long earnings hanging off the men’s ears, with high and tight haircuts, their denim jackets missing sleeves worn like a vest. Behind me, the television is chock full of cartoons, Garfield cartoons. Unfortunately this is not the good eighties Garfield but the new crappy computer generated cartoon, which it pains me to even call it that. So, here I am, in this bar, waiting for tube meat of circus grade quality, drinking my beer, sitting across from the sequined torso of a dress form, with a finial in place of its head.